Wednesday, January 2

feed discovery in firefox, redux

Bug #1477667 finally landed in Firefox 64, which means that discovery and subscription features for RSS / Atom feeds are gone now. This means that if you have a blog or other site that offers a feed but doesn’t explicitly provide a visible link to it, your users probably don’t know it exists. If you care, now might be a good time to add such a link.

It also means that you as a user won’t know about feeds, unless you install an extension. My solution for the moment is to use Livemarks and manually copy feed URLs into NewsBlur once I know they exist. This is suboptimal, but it works for now. (The extension’s main purpose is to restore livemarks functionality, i.e. the thing where you could add a feed as an automatically updated bookmark folder, which can be kind of handy.)

I first got mad about this particular feature deletion, to no avail, back in July. Google’s Chrome, of course, got rid of feed-related features ages ago, and I’ve been mad about that for a while.

If you’re using Chrome, you can get feed subscription features back with this RSS subscription extension.

Sunday, December 16

notes from the air

I’m transiting between an edge-condition town that used to be nowhere at all and a rural interior that still is. This leg of the trip is a flight between Denver International Airport and Omaha. Beneath the plane the pivot irrigation circles stretch out in either direction, growing more snow-dusted as we leave the immediate shadow of the Rockies. Soon we’ll cut across the sandhills, these latter looking, as we approach, like a dark inversion of the feathered crystals of ice growing across the surface of a pond.

friday, december 7

i should still be at my desk, but instead
i'm out in the yard in work boots, sweatpants,
and a chore coat, fucking with the christmas lights
while there's still enough daylight left to see

i've got a strand across the top of the house
one on the bushes out front
one in the apple tree

there's a snow-melt haze over the foothills
as the sun reaches that boundary zone
between clouds and horizon

breathing the cold air, moving around on grass
and gravel, fighting with the trees
i'm aware again that i waste
the better part of my time

Monday, December 3

platform detection with linux on single-board computers

I’m extracting some Python code for detecting the current hardware from Adafruit_Blinka and Adafruit_Python_GPIO. This is a quick and dirty linkdump on ways to figure out what board you’re running on.

Python’s sys.platform:

This string contains a platform identifier that can be used to append platform-specific components to sys.path, for instance.

Python’s platform - yields some architecture / OS / processor / Python interpreter data.

If it exists, /proc/device-tree/model may give you a human-readable string (no trailing newline):

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ cat /proc/device-tree/model
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Plus Rev 1.3

/proc/cpuinfo will have various useful things. On the Pi, it’ll include lines like so, which are useful:

Hardware        : BCM2835
Revision        : a020d3
Serial          : 000000007cd89b23

The Pi foundation has a list of the revision codes.

An issue on Ev3dev, “an operating system that runs on the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 and other platforms with compatible motor/sensor hardware.”: Relying on /proc/cpuinfo and /proc/device-tree/model is not good enough.

Sunday, November 18

don't blow up the spot

A couple days ago I read this essay about reviewing a local burger joint on the internet and killing it as a result, by Kevin Alexander:

Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed. Now when I look at the Stanich’s mug in my office, I no longer feel light and happy. I feel like I’ve done a bad thing.

For the past year, the story of Stanich’s has haunted me. For most of that time, I’d been away from Thrillist, as I worked on a book that frequently took me to Portland. Each time I was there, my story would somehow find a way into conversation, like the one with my Lyft driver who asked if I liked burgers. Yes, I said tentatively. “Well, we had a great one here,” he said, as we drove over the Burnside Bridge. “But then some asshole from California ruined it.” Or the time, while sitting at the bar at Clyde Common, the bartender came up to me and in a soft, friendly voice inquired if I’d planned on closing any more burger restaurants while I was in town.

I found it by way of a MetaFilter thread, and then I read this comment over there by Frowner:

Lo these many years ago, a wise person told me, when I was enthusing about something, “the first rule is ‘don’t blow up the spot’”.

And shit, that sure did resonate.

Then there’s this from

In a weird way, you can put “became the #1 rated restaurant, had to close because of vast hordes of foodies” on the same list as:

  • becoming a meme and getting random marriage proposals from strangers
  • getting doxxed/SWATed/brigaded/etc
  • your kickstarter campaign goes viral and now you have 10x the funds you expected, so you have to build something even grander

The internet is like a gravity distortion beam that momentarily focuses everyoneʼs attention on one thing.

Uh huh. It’s 2018 and I’m working on this ever-expanding and frankly sort of absurd, hopeless list of restrictions about information sharing.

  • Don’t put people’s faces on the internet.
  • Don’t put location data on the internet.
  • Don’t exist on social media.
  • Don’t have enough of an observable public personality to attract any form of judgment or attention.
  • Don’t make your town or neighborhood look cool on the internet.
  • Absolutely do not put hiking trails, campsites, parks, etc., on the internet. In fact, don’t tell anyone outside of friends who know better than to spread the word about those things either.
  • Don’t make visible art or have visible opinions or affiliations.
  • Don’t have an audience, don’t perpetuate an audience, don’t boost signals in any way likely to distort or refocus the lens of network attention.
  • Don’t do anything to improve the network’s model of you.

I break these rules - some of them pretty frequently (for example by still having this blog), but it’s sure the direction I’m trending. Don’t blow up the spot, sure, but more generally don’t risk the attention of the hive mind at all, for yourself or anyone else or any place or thing you care about.

This tendency probably can’t really be made consistent with other views I hold, but it sure is a Mood.


Real Hackers Tell Us Why They Love the Movie 'Hackers' - Motherboard

Using GIT on a Synology NAS

DNS Pre-fetch Exposure on Thunderbird and Webmail - Grepular

A Biologist Reconstructs the Grotesque Efficiency of the Nazis' Killing Machine - Scientific American

File:Anarchist black cat.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Joho the BlogTwenty seconds with Murray Bookchin - Joho the Blog

Why I still have a custom-compiled Firefox (early 2019 edition)

Xbox Adaptive Controller | Xbox

Raspberry Pi Becomes a Member of the RISC-V Foundation — Well _that_'s interesting.

lolcat · PyPI

JSON on the command line with jq | George Ornbo

A Death Of Ethics: Is Hunting Destroying Itself?

Interview with Benjamin Harff, upcoming Tolkien illustrator and creator of the Edel-Silmarillion

404 Page Not Found | Kate Wagner


Environment Variables - Travis CI

Supporting open source with 3% of our revenue | Eventbot Blog

The American Landscape, From Space: Denver, the Rockies, and Colorado Captured by DigitalGlobe's Satellite - The Atlantic

Comparing Rust and JavaScript Ergonomics with a Simple Linked List | CodeSections

Radar State band has new LP and tour | The Kansas City Star

IBM Watson Sued by LA County for Secretly Tracking Users