Caveat: another about face

I have taken the decision today to uninstall facebook from my phone.

About 11 months ago (at the point in time when I’d decided to move back from Korea to the US.) I had (re-)installed facebook on my phone. Facebook is incredibly useful for staying in touch with family and friends, and for providing a snapshot of my life to those people who are too entrenched in their internet ways to bother checking with my blog. There is no denying that has become a kind of indispensable contact utility.

However, I feel like the facebook app on my phone has changed its behavior, recently. It has become much more aggressive with its ads, with its auto-play videos, with the reams of clickbait to be found on the news feed. So I feel the need to take away the temptation to open it.

To be clear, I am not “quitting” facebook. Instead, I’m scaling back and rationing my participation in facebook, by limiting access to my desktop computer, where I can better control my interaction with the application. I will look for a way to make a daily crosspost from my blog, so people can follow me – I’ll keep up my “daily tree” tradition from there.

It may be that I succumb to temptation, and re-install the app once again on my phone, at some point in the future. Likely the next time I plan to travel, I’ll do so, at the least, because it’s very convenient to have facebook on my phone when traveling. But in the meantime, you’ll be seeing fewer posts on facebook – likely just the blog crossposts.

Thanks for understanding, and love to all.

Caveat: Typepad broke my heart (and, not incidentally, broke my blog) today.

I found out today that my blog host, Typepad, has altered a functionality upon which I have relied heavily. I have, for the last 4 years, been hosting all my pictures "off-site" relative to the blog. This helps me keep them organized, helps me keep control of them from an "intellectual property" standpoint, and makes it easier to be "disaster resistant" in the event of problems with data integrity at the blog hosting server. 

It relies, however, on the blog host software respecting the integrity of the out-linking URLs for all those pictures.

If you scan through my blog today, you will see that all my picture links are broken. ALL OF THEM. Typepad doesn't approve of the link protocol of my picture-hosting server (i.e. it's "h t t p" rather than "https"). [And holy crap! – it's using some kludgey rewrite on the actual text of my blog entries – I can't even MENTION "h t t p" without it being "corrected" – hence the spaces in the mentions, here. So it's not only bad policy, it's bad programming, too!]

I have two possible solutions.

1) Migrate my photos to a different server, so that the links will work again (the current picture server doesn't accommodate the new, supposedly "more secure" URLs that Typepad is forcing on me)

2) Migrate my blog to a different host. All of it.

Both of these represent a lot of work.

I feel I can no longer trust my blog host with my data, however.

So much for the "lifetime guarantee." I have been with Typepad for 14 years. I had some intuition that it would come to a bad end, but I had hoped against hope it wouldn't. Such hopes were unfounded, as we can see.

I guess I have a new project to work on, to procrastinate on my taxes.

[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: rich in entropy

We live in a weird era. Entropy has become a kind of commodity in and of itself.

In all this messing around with my new server… with trying out new things and tinkering with it all… well, of course I have to educate myself a bit about server security. It's a big, bad world out there, and if I'm going to be running a server that's publicly visible on the internet (offering up webpages, etc.) the little machine will be lonely and vulnerable, and I have to think about how to protect it from bots and blackhats.

In the field of network security, one thing that comes up is that you have to have some fundamental understanding of the types of cryptography used these days to secure systems. There's a whole infrastructure around generating "secure" public and private keys that computers hoard and exchange with one another to authenticate themselves. I really DON'T understand this, but I wade through the documentation as I e.g. try to set up a certificate authority on my server, because some of the things I'm running there apparently require it. I run the commands they tell me to, and hopefully my little server is sorta secure. But who knows.

I was fascinated to learn, however, about a thing that is used in crypto key generation on computers: system "entropy."

On one site I was looking at, there was a discussion about the fact that virtual machines (the sorts you rent from big companies to run cheap little servers, as I have done) have extremely low "available entropy" while your typical crummy desktop has very high "available entropy" – therefore when I generate my keys, I should do so on my desktop, not my server – I can upload the generated keys to my server later.

I think it's kind of a funny concept. The mass-produced, cookie-cutter, high quality, reliable servers found on the giant server farms are lacking in a certain commodity that they desperately need for their security: entropy. So the admins have to go out to their desktops to get the entropy they need. I sit here and I listen to my cruddy, 7 year old Jooyontech Korean PC-clone desktop, with its perpetually failing CPU fan groaning intermittently and the weird system noises filtering though the sound channel onto my speakers, and I can rest assured that that's all part and parcel of having lots and lots of good, tasty entropy that I can feed to my server in the form of so many sweet, generated security keys.

One site I was reading said that typical desktop entropy should be around 2000 (in whatever units entropy is measured with…).

Out of curiosity, I plugged in the Linux command that would tell me my system's entropy. I got 3770. Wow! I'm rich! … in entropy, anyway.

Meanwhile, my server, a virtual machine in some well-air-conditioned server farm facility across the Pacific in California, manages only 325 units of entropy. So sad. The chaos-poor, withered fruits of conformity.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Poem #600

my nam yu no
alligaytur
i want tu ete
a mungki, shur,
or stoodents, yum,
in ther nise haus
but meenwile tho
i lik the maus

– This poem is in a completely new form, recently emergent from internet memedom, called "bredlik." In fact it's a pretty structured form, with requirements of rhyme, meter, theme and even a kind of anti-spelling convention. You can read about it here - linguists have been observing its development. As that summary notes, the misspellings are not meant to seem illiterate or childish, rather, they in fact somewhat emulate the fluid orthographies of Middle English. I would add that the deliberate misspelling also successfully conveys the orality of the poem in the context of the overwhelmingly textual medium of internet-based forums and chats. So I decided to make my own, about my classroom ubiquitous alligator character.

Caveat: Geofictician

I decided to start a separate blog on my new website.

There is a long history of me creating new "blogs" for one specific purpose or another. The longest-lived of my alternate blogs was the one I maintained for my job and students for several years. That blog still exists but it's largely dormant.

The reason for this new blog is that, although I don't mind sharing my geofiction activities here on this blog, I'm not sure how open I want to be about the rest of my life with fellow members of the geofiction community where I participate. That is, do they want to see or do they care to see my poetry, my ruminations of day-to-day classroom life, my oddball videos and proverb decipherments? 

Since I think it's better to keep those things separate, I decided to make a separate blog. I also did it just to support the "technical unity" (if you will) of the website I've been constructing. 

I may develop a habit of allowing the things I post on that other blog to appear here, but not vice versa. This blog would be the comprehensive "all Jared" blog, while that would be a kind of filtered version for the geofiction community. 

Anyway, here's the blog (blog.geofictician.net), which currently has 4 posts, created over the weekend. Note that it seems like this blog will be fairly technical, representing the most abstruse aspects of my bizarre and embarrassing hobby, which might be termed "computational geofiction."

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Logofication

GF Logo

I designed a "logo" for my new website, this morning. The drawing is not really original – it's a free-hand consolidation of several images found online. For all that, I'm moderately pleased with the result, as a first draft.

I'm least happy with the vertical lettering – but the constraints of the drawn image, combined with fact that the logo needs to be square, made this the most reasonable approach, I thought. I'll work on it more, at some point.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: more hackings

Lately, I feel like I've been "on a roll" with respect to technical undertakings. And meanwhile, my creative efforts have been falling painfully flat. So I've shifted my efforts in my free time from creative work (writing, my geofictions, etc.) to computer tinkering. This is the sort of behavior that led to an entire somewhat-successful but ultimately stressful career in the 2000s.

I decided, in light of this, to go ahead and invest a few dollars a month in a hosted Linux Ubuntu Server. In fact, I already have another hosted server, but it's on Windows, which I'm less skilled at hacking, and mostly I use it as a ftp spot for backing up my data and as an image server for my blog.

Having an Ubuntu server allows me to deploy actual websites and apps rather than just have them running on my desktop. And, frankly, a hosted server is a lot more reliable than my desktop – assuming I don't blow it up through some hackerish ineptitude. 

So I clicked "Buy" early this morning and I made a server. 

I got one of my long-neglected domain names pointed to it: geofictician.net. I hope to get other of my domains pointed there too, over time. I have a half-dozen domains that I basically barely use: jaredway.com, raggedsign.net (my old business), caveatdumptruck.com (which points to this blog), etc.

So far, all that's installed is a skeleton of a mediawiki instance (i.e. an "empty" wikipedia, basically). That's because those things are really easy to install and give a very professional-looking result "out of the box." I'll see what else I can get installed, later.

Here's a link:

https://geofictician.net/wiki

See? It's really there.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: and, but no

This made me laugh, quite a bit.

First they came for the verbs, and I said nothing, because verbing weirds language
Then they arrival for the nouns, and I speech nothing, because no verbs
Then they for the descriptive, and I silent because verbless and nounless
Then they for me, and, but no

This very humorous bit of linguistics-based humor has been circulating on the internets. Attribution is vague – the best I could find with google is an attribution of the first two lines to Peter Ellis (whoever that is). I first ran across it mentioned the All Things Linguistic blog, and that links to another tumblr page (tumblr is a kind of social media "lite" blogging host – in fact, the All Things Linguistic blog is in that medium, but I guess its settings are more blog-like and less social-media-like). Finding attribution on tumblr is like jumping down a rabbit hole, and without an active tumblr account mostly I get bombarded with requests to sign up, and I'm not interested in going there. So if whoever actually made this up finds this here without attribution, please don't get upset – I did my best.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Glorious Days of the Internet, Episode 235,654,534

The scene and the problem:

We are doing last-minute prep for our talent show. Grace is doing some stage practicing with a group of her students, and she tells me, "I really need a fart sound for this play."

The play she's doing, the "Farting Lady," is a Korean classic tale adapted to grade-school EF, with songs, too. I may have mentioned it before on this blog – it's a perennial favorite of Korean students, because they know the story already, and because elementary children have fundamentally scatalogical senses of humor.

I can't use my laptop, because it's been repurposed as the main computer for all the projections, sound and powerpoint slides for the show. 

The solution:

So I take my little USB memory stick and I go to one of the computers in the computer lab. I go to google, and I type in "free download fart sounds." I have a plethora of choices. First choice, try out some sounds, and download a half dozen.

I save them onto my USB, and return to the seminar room where Grace is practicing. I hand her the USB. "The internet is a great thing," I say.

"It is," she agrees, as she tries out the files, to the entertained giggles of 15 or so elementary kids.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: Aan­ga­jaar­naq­tu­li­uq­tu­qa­qat­ta­li­lauq­si­mann­git­ti­am­ma­ri­ru­lung­niq­pal­lii­la­in­nau­ja­qa­tau­na­su­&&­an­naaq­tum­ma­ri­a­luu­va­li­lauq­si­ma­&&a­pik­ka­lu­ar­mi­jun­ga­lit­t

This satirical article at SpeculativeGrammarian explains why twitter is not a good idea for the fine residents of Nunavut. I actually have no idea if the Inuit phrases cited are authentic or instead just satirical inventions. The word/sentence "Aan­ga­jaar­naq­tu­li­uq­tu­qa­qat­ta­li­lauq­si­mann­git­ti­am­ma­ri­ru­lung­niq­pal­lii­la­in­nau­ja­qa­tau­na­su­&&­an­naaq­tum­ma­ri­a­luu­va­li­lauq­si­ma­&&a­pik­ka­lu­ar­mi­jun­ga­lit­tau­ruuq" has 199 characters, and allegedly means, "At a younger age it is said that I had also been saying that I wished drugs were never made!" Which might very well be something some anti-drugs Nunavutian politician might want to send out on twitter. So, indeed, it seems a linguistic injustice on the part of the twitterverse.

Relatedly (perhaps), I recently learned that Greenland's 18th largest city, Ittoqqortoormiit, has 452 residents. South Korea's 18th largest city is Namyangju, in Gyeonggi province (not far from my own home in Goyang, which happens to be South Korea's 10th largest city, although, really, both cities are just politically autonomous suburbs of Seoul). According to the wiki thing, Namyangju has 629,061 residents.

Here is a picture of Ittoqqortoormiit.

picture

Possible spurious correlation of the day (?): The smaller the town, the longer the words.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: When the rivers freeze and summer ends

I posted this song quite some time ago (more than 5 years). I'm posting again because the video link at the old posting "rotted" (the so-called "link-rot" problem that long-lived blogs have), and anyway I never posted the lyrics in that old posting. It's one of my favorites by Dylan.

Bob Dylan (with Johnny Cash), "Girl From The North Country."

Lyrics.

If you're travelin' in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she's wearing a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin' winds

Please see for me if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
For that's the way I remember her best

I'm a-wonderin' if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: the shining Big-Cheez-Burger

Apparently Longfellow's poem, "The Song of Hiawatha" has been rewritten in a LOLcat version (LOLcat, for those unaware, is a kind of internet 'meme' – i.e. a faddish and famous complex of behaviors, images and what might be called internet text-based dialect slang).

By the shores of Intar-Webbies,
By the shining Big-Cheez-Burger,
Stood the macro of Blue Kitteh,
Pièce de résistance, Blue Kitteh.
Dark behind it rose the sofa,
Rose the roomy gloomy sofa,
Rose the pics with lols upon them;
Bright before it post the comments,
Post the wry and funneh comments,
LOl@shining Big-Cheez-Burger!!

For comparison, here are the first ten lines of the original.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (American poet, 1807-1882)

Credit for finding this belongs to the linguistics blog All Things Linguistic.

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: A piracy of convenience

I have evolved a pattern as far as acquiring new music. I follow leads of things I'm interested in to youtube. Most anything can be found there, uploaded by somebody. 

There are free online web services that quickly "grab" the soundtrack of any youtube video and will give you an mp3 file. So I grab the file, and I save it to my computer, and then I use FTP to put it on my private server (my secret cloud). With my new Linux system, this is almost trivial, since FTP is integrated with the file manager – my cloud is just another folder on my desktop.

On my Samsung Android phone, I open my FTP app and grab the mp3 file into my Music folder on my phone. 

In about 3 minutes, I have acquired a new song or piece of music and can listen using my phone, which is also my main mp3 player. The one drawback is if the youtube version I've captured is of poor quality… but generally some google-fu can find a better version.

In fact, I believe artists should be remunerated for their work. But I can't get Amazon to work smoothly with my system – it doesn't play nicely with the Korean internet (at least, not for someone who wants to pay with a US-based identity), for one thing, nor with Linux, for another thing. Other online music vendors create the same kinds of problems. Further, the hoops they make you jump through and the crap they put on your computer, as part of their efforts to monetize customer buying interests and follow online behavior are off-putting.

So what I do is that I go into Amazon and "buy" the music I like, but I never download it – because I already have the file using my – for me – easier system. The artists get their money, and I get my music in the most convenient way. 

What I'm listening to right now.

Brian Eno and John Cale, "Spinning Away."

Lyrics.

Up on a hill, as the day dissolves
With my pencil turning moments into line
High above in the violet sky
A silent silver plane – it draws a golden chain
One by one, all the stars appear
As the great winds of the planet spiral in
Spinning away, like the night sky at Arles
In the million insect storm, the constellations form
On a hill, under a raven sky
I have no idea exactly what I've drawn
Some kind of change, some kind of spinning away
With every single line moving further out in time
And now as the pale moon rides (in the stars)
Her form in my pale blue lines (in the stars)
And there, as the world rolls round (in the stars)
I draw, but the lines move round (in the stars)
There, as the great wheels blaze (in the stars)
I draw, but my drawing fades (in the stars)
And now, as the old sun dies (in the stars)
I draw, and the four winds sigh (in the stars)

[daily log: walking, 7km]

Caveat: depanoramification

There once was an online photo-hosting service called Panoramio. I never used it much, but I liked it because it had the ability to link one's photos directly to googlemaps – the photos could be geolocated, and seen by others.

I only ever had a total of 19 photos hosted on Panoramio, but I liked that they were there. I considered them among my best photos, and each photo was "viewed" by Panoramio users 20,000-30,000 times.

Well, Panoramio is closing down. It was long ago acquired by google, and finally google got tired of it. They've got some other thing they would rather users use that presumably offers similar functionality, but it's part of their social network dumpster fire, which I have no interest in. 

Here, for posterity, are the 19 photos I had on Panoramio – now saved on my server, but of course the active geolocation is turned off. I have had to remove the Panoramio slideshow widget from my blog's sidebar, since it no longer works.

200708xx_casadelosamigosac

Casa de los Amigos, Mexico City (where I lived and worked, 1986-87), taken 2007

200708xx_piramidedelsolteotihuacan

Pirámide de la Luna, desde Pirámide del Sol, Teotihuacán, taken 2007

200708xx_collisionwithbutterfly

My truck's front license plate, Sentinal, North Dakota, taken 2007

20070810_madriverbeach

Mad River Beach, Arcata, California, taken 2007

20080111_munhwachodeunghakgyo

문화초등학교, Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2008

20080111_ringguaporeomeohakwon

링구아포럼어학원, Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2008

20080307_jeongbalsanyeok_ipgu1beon

정발산역 입구1번, Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2008

20090501_pajugeumchon

Geumchon, Paju, Gyeonggi, taken 2008

20090501_welcometogoyang

Welcome to Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2008

20090602_hosugongwon

밤에 호수공원, Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2009

20091027_portsaintnicholasroad

Port Saint Nicholas Road, Craig, Alaska, taken 2009

20091117_heavenmanitoba

Emerson, Manitoba, taken 2009

20100215_yeonjudae

연주대, Gwanak, Gyeonggi, taken 2010

20100220_geumsansa

금산사, Jeonju, Jeollabuk, taken 2010

20100402_sakurajimakagoshima

Sakurajima, Kagoshima, taken 2010

20100918_mudeungsandeungsan

무등산으로 등산, Gwangju, Jeollanam, taken 2010

20110128_nearmillaamillaa

Millaa Millaa, Queensland, taken 2011

20120915_namsantowerseoul

Namsan Sunset, Itaewon, Seoul, taken 2012

20121013_hugokgoyanggyeonggi

Hugok, Goyang, Gyeonggi, taken 2012

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]

Caveat: Facing Your Listeners When You Speak

Sometimes people ask me why I quit being an active user on the facebook. Sometimes I even think to myself about returning, because there definitely are benefits to the platform, and I know I miss some important interactions with friends, family and former students. 

Then I run across an article such as this one.

And I renew my commitment to be a "passive-only" user of the facebook.

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]

Caveat: the internet let me down

I had one of my "low tech" Sundays, I guess. I was tired of looking at the internet and tried to avoid it today.

What I'm listening to right now.

This morning, anyway, when I started to prepare this blog-post, the internet let me down. I was listening to this song, and was going to post it. But the song is completely missing from the normal places where such things can be found – e.g. youtube, vimeo. Not even the pirate-riddled Chinese site I've used a few times. So. No online track available. I guess they want you to buy it. How antiquated.

Epsilon Minus, "Lost."

Lyrics.

My sadness seeks out comfort
Where are you now
I just had to express these feelings
My regret overwhelms me
I feel you now
I just had to show you what remains

You said that I would never change
Just a frozen thought in your mind
I'm destined to remain
You embody everything I am
And I thought I would tell you all this
As I watch you slip away
And the hope built up inside
Told me this would be the time
I would cry no more goodbyes
You gave the world to me

My loneliness astounds me
I've lost you now
I have no one to blame for these things

You fought to keep them all away
But desire overcomes me
And that's something new to me
I've known longing
I've lost something

And the hope built up inside
Lied to me a thousand times
I've cried one more goodbye
The world I had destroyed
And these feelings I won't hide
When the tears slowly subside
I've lost everything today
When you took the world from me

 

[daily log: walking, not much]

Caveat: like God’s own Mentos and Diet Coke

A blogger who blogs under the pseudonym Patrick Non-White recently channeled William S. Burroughs pretending to be Donald Trump. He writes as if Trump had hit upon the idea of running for president while doing bong hits with his friends. This alternate-universe Trump meditates on his plan, thinking of himself, of course, in the third person:

"There is nothing so crazed as a politician in rut, screeching whatever thoughts burst into his coke-addled brain like a radioactive weasel before thousands of ignorant nimrods, on total auto-pilot, completely in the now, popping off like God's own Mentos and Diet Coke."

This fine picture appeared in another spot online. You may wish to connect it, at your own mental risk, to the above.

Donald-hillary-bill-melania

[daily log: walking, 6]