Search Results: "ivo"

5 September 2023

Russ Allbery: Review: Before We Go Live

Review: Before We Go Live, by Stephen Flavall
Publisher: Spender Books
Copyright: 2023
ISBN: 1-7392859-1-3
Format: Kindle
Pages: 271
Stephen Flavall, better known as jorbs, is a Twitch streamer specializing in strategy games and most well-known as one of the best Slay the Spire players in the world. Before We Go Live, subtitled Navigating the Abusive World of Online Entertainment, is a memoir of some of his experiences as a streamer. It is his first book. I watch a lot of Twitch. For a long time, it was my primary form of background entertainment. (Twitch's baffling choices to cripple their app have subsequently made YouTube somewhat more attractive.) There are a few things one learns after a few years of watching a lot of streamers. One is that it's a precarious, unforgiving living for all but the most popular streamers. Another is that the level of behind-the-scenes drama is very high. And a third is that the prevailing streaming style has converged on fast-talking, manic, stream-of-consciousness joking apparently designed to satisfy people with very short attention spans. As someone for whom that manic style is like nails on a chalkboard, I am therefore very picky about who I'm willing to watch and rarely can tolerate the top streamers for more than an hour. jorbs is one of the handful of streamers I've found who seems pitched towards adults who don't need instant bursts of dopamine. He's calm, analytical, and projects a relaxed, comfortable feeling most of the time (although like the other streamers I prefer, he doesn't put up with nonsense from his chat). If you watch him for a while, he's also one of those people who makes you think "oh, this is an interestingly unusual person." It's a bit hard to put a finger on, but he thinks about things from intriguing angles. Going in, I thought this would be a general non-fiction book about the behind-the-scenes experience of the streaming industry. Before We Go Live isn't really that. It is primarily a memoir focused on Flavall's personal experience (as well as the experience of his business manager Hannah) with the streaming team and company F2K, supplemented by a brief history of Flavall's streaming career and occasional deeply personal thoughts on his own mental state and past experiences. Along the way, the reader learns a lot more about his thought processes and approach to life. He is indeed a fascinatingly unusual person. This is to some extent an expos , but that's not the most interesting part of this book. It quickly becomes clear that F2K is the sort of parasitic, chaotic, half-assed organization that crops up around any new business model. (Yes, there's crypto.) People who are good at talking other people out of money and making a lot of big promises try to follow a startup fast-growth model with unclear plans for future revenue and hope that it all works out and turns into a valuable company. Most of the time it doesn't, because most of the people running these sorts of opportunistic companies are better at talking people out of money than at running a business. When the new business model is in gaming, you might expect a high risk of sexism and frat culture; in this case, you would not be disappointed. This is moderately interesting but not very revealing if one is already familiar with startup culture and the kind of people who start businesses without doing any of the work the business is about. The F2K principals are at best opportunistic grifters, if not actual con artists. It's not long into this story before this is obvious. At that point, the main narrative of this book becomes frustrating; Flavall recognizes the dysfunction to some extent, but continues to associate with these people. There are good reasons related to his (and Hannah's) psychological state, but it doesn't make it easier to read. Expect to spend most of the book yelling "just break up with these people already" as if you were reading Captain Awkward letters. The real merit of this book is that people are endlessly fascinating, Flavall is charmingly quirky, and he has the rare mix of the introspection that allows him to describe himself without the tendency to make his self-story align with social expectations. I think every person is intriguingly weird in at least some ways, but usually the oddities are smoothed away and hidden under a desire to present as "normal" to the rest of society. Flavall has the right mix of writing skill and a willingness to write with direct honesty that lets the reader appreciate and explore the complex oddities of a real person, including the bits that at first don't make much sense. Parts of this book are uncomfortable reading. Both Flavall and his manager Hannah are abuse survivors, which has a lot to do with their reactions to their treatment by F2K, and those reactions are both tragic and maddening to read about. It's a good way to build empathy for why people will put up with people who don't have their best interests at heart, but at times that empathy can require work because some of the people on the F2K side are so transparently sleazy. This is not the sort of book I'm likely to re-read, but I'm glad I read it simply for that time spent inside the mind of someone who thinks very differently than I do and is both honest and introspective enough to give me a picture of his thought processes that I think was largely accurate. This is something memoir is uniquely capable of doing if the author doesn't polish all of the oddities out of their story. It takes a lot of work to be this forthright about one's internal thought processes, and Flavall does an excellent job. Rating: 7 out of 10

25 August 2023

Debian Brasil: Debian Day 30 anos online no Brasil

Em 2023 o tradicional Debian Day est sendo celebrado de forma especial, afinal no dia 16 de agostoo Debian completou 30 anos! Para comemorar este marco especial na vida do Debian, a comunidade Debian Brasil organizou uma semana de palestras online de 14 a 18 de agosto. O evento foi chamado de Debian 30 anos. Foram realizadas 2 palestras por noite, das 19h s 22h, transmitidas pelo canal Debian Brasil no YouTube totalizando 10 palestras. As grava es j est o dispon veis tamb m no canal Debian Brasil no Peertube. Nas 10 atividades tivemos as participa es de 9 DDs, 1 DM, 3 contribuidores(as). A audi ncia ao vivo variou bastante, e o pico foi na palestra sobre preseed com o Eriberto Mota quando tivemos 47 pessoas assistindo. Obrigado a todos(as) participantes pela contribui o que voc s deram para o sucesso do nosso evento. Veja abaixo as fotos de cada atividade: Nova gera o: uma entrevista com iniciantes no projeto Debian
Nova gera o: uma entrevista com iniciantes no projeto Debian Instala o personalizada e automatizada do Debian com preseed
Instala o personalizada e automatizada do Debian com preseed Manipulando patches com git-buildpackage
Manipulando patches com git-buildpackage Socializando Debian do jeito Debian Socializando Debian do jeito Debian Proxy reverso com WireGuard
Proxy reverso com WireGuard Celebra o dos 30 anos do Debian!
Celebra o dos 30 anos do Debian! Instalando o Debian em disco criptografado com LUKS
Instalando o Debian em disco criptografado com LUKS O que a equipe de localiza o j  conquistou nesses 30 anos
O que a equipe de localiza o j conquistou nesses 30 anos Debian - Projeto e Comunidade!
Debian - Projeto e Comunidade! Design Gr fico e Software livre, o que fazer e por onde come ar
Design Gr fico e Software livre, o que fazer e por onde come ar

2 August 2023

Debian Brasil: Participa o do Debian na Campus Party Brasil 2023

Mais uma edi o da Campus Party Brasil aconteceu na cidade de S o Paulo entre os dias 25 e 30 de Julho de 2023. Novamente a comunidade Debian Brasil se fez presente. Durante os dias no espa o disponibilizado, realizamos algumas atividades:
- Distribui o de brindes (adesivos, copos, cord o de crach );
- Mini oficina sobre como contribuir para a equipe de tradu o;
- Mini oficina sobre empacotamento;
- Assinatura de chaves;
- Informa es sobre o projeto; Durante todos os dias, havia sempre uma pessoa dispon vel para passar informa es sobre o que o Debian e as diversas formas de contribuir. Durante todo o evento, estimamos que ao menos 700 pessoas interagiram de alguma forma com nossa comunidade. Diversas pessoas, aproveitaram a oportunidade para aproveitar pelo excelente trabalho realizado pelo projeto no Debian 12 - Bookworm. Segue algumas fotos tiradas durante o evento! CPBR15
Espa o da Comunidade no Evento.
Romulo, visitante do espa o com Daniel Lenharo.
Alguns brindes que estavam a disposi o do p blico.
Vis o do espa o.
Adesivo com a Arte de 30 anos feita pelo Jefferson.
Pessoal no espa o da comunidade.
Mini curso de empacotamento, realizado pelo Charles.
Pessoal que esteve envolvido nas atividades da comunidade.

1 August 2023

Debian Brasil: Participa o do Debian na Campus Party Brasil 2023

Mais uma edi o da Campus Party Brasil aconteceu na cidade de S o Paulo entre os dias 25 e 30 de Julho de 2023. Novamente a comunidade Brasileira se fez presente. Durante os dias no espa o disponibilizado, realizamos algumas atividades:
- Distribui o de brindes (Adesivos, Copos, Cord o de crach );
- Mini oficina sobre como contribuir para a equipe de tradu o;
- Mini oficina sobre empacotamento;
- Informa es sobre o projeto; Durante todos os dias, havia sempre uma pessoa dispon vel para passar informa es sobre o que o Debian, formas de contribuir. Durante todo o evento, estimamos que ao menos 700 pessoas interagiram de alguma forma com nossa comunidade. Diversas pessoas, aproveitaram a oportunidade para aproveitar pelo excelente trabalho realizado pelo projeto no Debian 12 - Bookworm. Segue algumas fotos tiradas durante o evento! CPBR15
Espa o da Comunidade no Evento.
Romulo, visitante do espa o com Daniel Lenharo.
Alguns brindes que estavam a disposi o do p blico.
Vis o do espa o.
Adesivo com a Arte de 30 anos feita pelo Jefferson.
Pessoal no espa o da comunidade.
Mini curso de empacotamento, realizado pelo Charles.
Pessoal que esteve envolvido nas atividades da comunidade.

11 July 2023

Simon Josefsson: Coping with non-free software in Debian

A personal reflection on how I moved from my Debian home to find two new homes with Trisquel and Guix for my own ethical computing, and while doing so settled my dilemma about further Debian contributions. Debian s contributions to the free software community has been tremendous. Debian was one of the early distributions in the 1990 s that combined the GNU tools (compiler, linker, shell, editor, and a set of Unix tools) with the Linux kernel and published a free software operating system. Back then there were little guidance on how to publish free software binaries, let alone entire operating systems. There was a lack of established community processes and conflict resolution mechanisms, and lack of guiding principles to motivate the work. The community building efforts that came about in parallel with the technical work has resulted in a steady flow of releases over the years. From the work of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) during the 1980 s and early 1990 s, there was at the time already an established definition of free software. Inspired by free software definition, and a belief that a social contract helps to build a community and resolve conflicts, Debian s social contract (DSC) with the free software community was published in 1997. The DSC included the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), which directly led to the Open Source Definition.

Slackware 3.5" disksOne of my earlier Slackware install disk sets, kept for nostalgic reasons.
I was introduced to GNU/Linux through Slackware in the early 1990 s (oh boy those nights calculating XFree86 modeline s and debugging and primarily used RedHat Linux during ca 1995-2003. I switched to Debian during the Woody release cycles, when the original RedHat Linux was abandoned and Fedora launched. It was Debian s explicit community processes and infrastructure that attracted me. The slow nature of community processes also kept me using RedHat for so long: centralized and dogmatic decision processes often produce quick and effective outcomes, and in my opinion RedHat Linux was technically better than Debian ca 1995-2003. However the RedHat model was not sustainable, and resulted in the RedHat vs Fedora split. Debian catched up, and reached technical stability once its community processes had been grounded. I started participating in the Debian community around late 2006. My interpretation of Debian s social contract is that Debian should be a distribution of works licensed 100% under a free license. The Debian community has always been inclusive towards non-free software, creating the contrib/non-free section and permitting use of the bug tracker to help resolve issues with non-free works. This is all explained in the social contract. There has always been a clear boundary between free and non-free work, and there has been a commitment that the Debian system itself would be 100% free. The concern that RedHat Linux was not 100% free software was not critical to me at the time: I primarily (and happily) ran GNU tools on Solaris, IRIX, AIX, OS/2, Windows etc. Running GNU tools on RedHat Linux was an improvement, and I hadn t realized it was possible to get rid of all non-free software on my own primary machine. Debian realized that goal for me. I ve been a believer in that model ever since. I can use Solaris, macOS, Android etc knowing that I have the option of using a 100% free Debian. While the inclusive approach towards non-free software invite and deserve criticism (some argue that being inclusive to non-inclusive behavior is a bad idea), I believe that Debian s approach was a successful survival technique: by being inclusive to and a compromise between free and non-free communities, Debian has been able to stay relevant and contribute to both environments. If Debian had not served and contributed to the free community, I believe free software people would have stopped contributing. If Debian had rejected non-free works completely, I don t think the successful Ubuntu distribution would have been based on Debian. I wrote the majority of the text above back in September 2022, intending to post it as a way to argue for my proposal to maintain the status quo within Debian. I didn t post it because I felt I was saying the obvious, and that the obvious do not need to be repeated, and the rest of the post was just me going down memory lane. The Debian project has been a sustainable producer of a 100% free OS up until Debian 11 bullseye. In the resolution on non-free firmware the community decided to leave the model that had resulted in a 100% free Debian for so long. The goal of Debian is no longer to publish a 100% free operating system, instead this was added: The Debian official media may include firmware . Indeed the Debian 12 bookworm release has confirmed that this would not only be an optional possibility. The Debian community could have published a 100% free Debian, in parallel with the non-free Debian, and still be consistent with their newly adopted policy, but chose not to. The result is that Debian s policies are not consistent with their actions. It doesn t make sense to claim that Debian is 100% free when the Debian installer contains non-free software. Actions speaks louder than words, so I m left reading the policies as well-intended prose that is no longer used for guidance, but for the peace of mind for people living in ivory towers. And to attract funding, I suppose. So how to deal with this, on a personal level? I did not have an answer to that back in October 2022 after the vote. It wasn t clear to me that I would ever want to contribute to Debian under the new social contract that promoted non-free software. I went on vacation from any Debian work. Meanwhile Debian 12 bookworm was released, confirming my fears. I kept coming back to this text, and my only take-away was that it would be unethical for me to use Debian on my machines. Letting actions speak for themselves, I switched to PureOS on my main laptop during October, barely noticing any difference since it is based on Debian 11 bullseye. Back in December, I bought a new laptop and tried Trisquel and Guix on it, as they promise a migration path towards ppc64el that PureOS do not. While I pondered how to approach my modest Debian contributions, I set out to learn Trisquel and gained trust in it. I migrated one Debian machine after another to Trisquel, and started to use Guix on others. Migration was easy because Trisquel is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian. Using Guix has its challenges, but I enjoy its coherant documented environment. All of my essential self-hosted servers (VM hosts, DNS, e-mail, WWW, Nextcloud, CI/CD builders, backup etc) uses Trisquel or Guix now. I ve migrated many GitLab CI/CD rules to use Trisquel instead of Debian, to have a more ethical computing base for software development and deployment. I wish there were official Guix docker images around. Time has passed, and when I now think about any Debian contributions, I m a little less muddled by my disappointment of the exclusion of a 100% free Debian. I realize that today I can use Debian in the same way that I use macOS, Android, RHEL or Ubuntu. And what prevents me from contributing to free software on those platforms? So I will make the occasional Debian contribution again, knowing that it will also indirectly improve Trisquel. To avoid having to install Debian, I need a development environment in Trisquel that allows me to build Debian packages. I have found a recipe for doing this: # System commands:
sudo apt-get install debhelper git-buildpackage debian-archive-keyring
sudo wget -O /usr/share/debootstrap/scripts/debian-common
sudo wget -O /usr/share/debootstrap/scripts/sid
# Run once to create build image:
DIST=sid git-pbuilder create --mirror --debootstrapopts "--exclude=usr-is-merged" --basepath /var/cache/pbuilder/base-sid.cow
# Run in a directory with debian/ to build a package:
gbp buildpackage --git-pbuilder --git-dist=sid
How to sustainably deliver a 100% free software binary distributions seems like an open question, and the challenges are not all that different compared to the 1990 s or early 2000 s. I m hoping Debian will come back to provide a 100% free platform, but my fear is that Debian will compromise even further on the free software ideals rather than the opposite. With similar arguments that were used to add the non-free firmware, Debian could compromise the free software spirit of the Linux boot process (e.g., non-free boot images signed by Debian) and media handling (e.g., web browsers and DRM), as Debian have already done with appstore-like functionality for non-free software (Python pip). To learn about other freedom issues in Debian packaging, browsing Trisquel s helper scripts may enlight you. Debian s setback and the recent setback for RHEL-derived distributions are sad, and it will be a challenge for these communities to find internally consistent coherency going forward. I wish them the best of luck, as Debian and RHEL are important for the wider free software eco-system. Let s see how the community around Trisquel, Guix and the other FSDG-distributions evolve in the future. The situation for free software today appears better than it was years ago regardless of Debian and RHEL s setbacks though, which is important to remember! I don t recall being able install a 100% free OS on a modern laptop and modern server as easily as I am able to do today. Happy Hacking! Addendum 22 July 2023: The original title of this post was Coping with non-free Debian, and there was a thread about it that included feedback on the title. I do agree that my initial title was confrontational, and I ve changed it to the more specific Coping with non-free software in Debian. I do appreciate all the fine free software that goes into Debian, and hope that this will continue and improve, although I have doubts given the opinions expressed by the majority of developers. For the philosophically inclined, it is interesting to think about what it means to say that a compilation of software is freely licensed. At what point does a compilation of software deserve the labels free vs non-free? Windows probably contains some software that is published as free software, let s say Windows is 1% free. Apple authors a lot of free software (as a tangent, Apple probably produce more free software than what Debian as an organization produces), and let s say macOS contains 20% free software. Solaris (or some still maintained derivative like OpenIndiana) is mostly freely licensed these days, isn t it? Let s say it is 80% free. Ubuntu and RHEL pushes that closer to let s say 95% free software. Debian used to be 100% but is now slightly less at maybe 99%. Trisquel and Guix are at 100%. At what point is it reasonable to call a compilation free? Does Debian deserve to be called freely licensed? Does macOS? Is it even possible to use these labels for compilations in any meaningful way? All numbers just taken from thin air. It isn t even clear how this can be measured (binary bytes? lines of code? CPU cycles? etc). The caveat about license review mistakes applies. I ignore Debian s own claims that Debian is 100% free software, which I believe is inconsistent and no longer true under any reasonable objective analysis. It was not true before the firmware vote since Debian ships with non-free blobs in the Linux kernel for example.

1 July 2023

Debian Brasil: MiniDebConf Bras lia 2023 - um breve relato

Minidebconf2033 palco No per odo de 25 a 27 de maio, Bras lia foi palco da MiniDebConf 2023. Esse encontro, composto por diversas atividades como palestras, oficinas, sprints, BSP (Bug Squashing Party), assinatura de chaves, eventos sociais e hacking, teve como principal objetivo reunir a comunidade e celebrar o maior projeto de Software Livre do mundo: o Debian. A MiniDebConf Bras lia 2023 foi um sucesso gra as participa o de todas e todos, independentemente do n vel de conhecimento sobre o Debian. Valorizamos a presen a tanto dos(as) usu rios(as) iniciantes que est o se familiarizando com o sistema quanto dos(as) desenvolvedores(as) oficiais do projeto. O esp rito de acolhimento e colabora o esteve presente em todos os momentos. As MiniDebConfs s o encontros locais organizados por membros do Projeto Debian, visando objetivos semelhantes aos da DebConf, por m em mbito regional. Ao longo do ano, eventos como esse ocorrem em diferentes partes do mundo, fortalecendo a comunidade Debian. Minidebconf2023 placa Atividades A programa o da MiniDebConf foi intensa e diversificada. Nos dias 25 e 26 (quinta e sexta-feira), tivemos palestras, debates, oficinas e muitas atividades pr ticas. J no dia 27 (s bado), ocorreu o Hacking Day, um momento especial em que os(as) colaboradores(as) do Debian se reuniram para trabalhar em conjunto em v rios aspectos do projeto. Essa foi a vers o brasileira da Debcamp, tradi o pr via DebConf. Nesse dia, priorizamos as atividades pr ticas de contribui o ao projeto, como empacotamento de softwares, tradu es, assinaturas de chaves, install fest e a Bug Squashing Party. Minidebconf2023 auditorio

Minidebconf2023 oficina N meros da edi o Os n meros do evento impressionam e demonstram o envolvimento da comunidade com o Debian. Tivemos 236 inscritos(as), 20 palestras submetidas, 14 volunt rios(as) e 125 check-ins realizados. Al m disso, nas atividades pr ticas, tivemos resultados significativos, como 7 novas instala es do Debian GNU/Linux, a atualiza o de 18 pacotes no reposit rio oficial do projeto Debian pelos participantes e a inclus o de 7 novos contribuidores na equipe de tradu o. Destacamos tamb m a participa o da comunidade de forma remota, por meio de transmiss es ao vivo. Os dados anal ticos revelam que nosso site obteve 7.058 visualiza es no total, com 2.079 visualiza es na p gina principal (que contava com o apoio de nossos patrocinadores), 3.042 visualiza es na p gina de programa o e 104 visualiza es na p gina de patrocinadores. Registramos 922 usu rios(as) nicos durante o evento. No YouTube, a transmiss o ao vivo alcan ou 311 visualiza es, com 56 curtidas e um pico de 20 visualiza es simult neas. Foram incr veis 85,1 horas de exibi o, e nosso canal conquistou 30 novos inscritos(as). Todo esse engajamento e interesse da comunidade fortalecem ainda mais a MiniDebConf. Minidebconf2023 palestrantes Fotos e v deos Para revivermos os melhores momentos do evento, temos dispon veis fotos e v deos. As fotos podem ser acessadas em: J os v deos com as grava es das palestras est o dispon veis no seguinte link: Para manter-se atualizado e conectar-se com a comunidade Debian Bras lia, siga-nos em nossas redes sociais: Agradecimentos Gostar amos de agradecer profundamente a todos(as) os(as) participantes, organizadores(as), patrocinadores e apoiadores(as) que contribu ram para o sucesso da MiniDebConf Bras lia 2023. Em especial, expressamos nossa gratid o aos patrocinadores Ouro: Pencillabs, Globo, Policorp e Toradex Brasil, e ao patrocinador Prata, 4-Linux. Tamb m agradecemos Finatec e ao Instituto para Conserva o de Tecnologias Livres (ICTL) pelo apoio. Minidebconf2023 coffee A MiniDebConf Bras lia 2023 foi um marco para a comunidade Debian, demonstrando o poder da colabora o e do Software Livre. Esperamos que todas e todos tenham desfrutado desse encontro enriquecedor e que continuem participando ativamente das pr ximas iniciativas do Projeto Debian. Juntos, podemos fazer a diferen a! Minidebconf2023 fotos oficial

15 June 2023

Shirish Agarwal: Ayisha, Manju Warrier, Debutsav, Books

Ayisha After a long time I saw a movie that I enjoyed wholeheartedly. And it unexpectedly touched my heart. The name of the movie is Ayisha. The first frame of the movie itself sets the pace where we see Ayisha (Manju Warrier) who decides to help out a gang as lot of women were being hassled. So she agrees to hoodwink cops and help launder some money. Then she is shown to work as a maid for an elite Arab family. To portray a Muslim character in these polarized times really shows guts especially when the othering of the Muslim has been happening 24 7. In fact, just few days back I was shocked to learn that Muslim homes were being marked as Jews homes had been marked in the 1930 s. Not just homes but also businesses too. And after few days in a total hypocritical fashion one of the judges says that you cannot push people to buy or not buy from a shop. This is after systemically doing the whole hate campaign for almost 2 weeks. What value the judge s statements are after 2 weeks ??? The poison has already seeped in  But I m drifting from the topic/movie.

The real fun of the movie is the beautiful relationship that happens between Ayisha and Mama, she is the biggest maternal figure in the house and in fact, her command is what goes in the house. The house or palace which is the perfect description is shown as being opulent but not as rich as both Mama and Ayisha are, spiritually and emotionally both giving and sharing of each other. Almost a mother daughter relationship, although with others she is shown as having a bit of an iron hand. Halfway through the movie we come to know that Ayisha was also a dramatist and an actress having worked in early Malayalam movies. I do not want to go through all the ups and downs as that is the beauty of the movie and it needs to be seen for that aspect. I am always sort of in two worlds where should I promote a book or series or movie or not because most of the time it is the unexpected that works. When we have expectation it doesn t. Avatar, the Way of the Water is an exception, not many movies I can recall like that where I had expectations and still the movie surpassed it. So maybe go with no expectations at all

Manju Warrier Manju Warrier should actually be called Manju Warrior as she chose to be with the survivor rather than the sexism that is prevalent in the Malayalam film industry which actually is more or less a mirror of Bollywood and society as whole. These three links should give enough background knowledge as to what has been happening although I m sure my Malayalam friends would more than add to that knowledge whatever may be missing. In quite a few movies, the women are making inroads without significant male strength. Especially Manju s movies have no male lead for the last few movies. Whether that is deliberate part on Manju or an obstacle being put in front of her. Anyone knows that having a male lead and a female lead enriches the value of a movie quite a bit. This doesn t mean one is better than the other but having both enriches the end product, as simple as that. This is sadly not happening. Having POSH training and having an ICC is something that each organization should look forward for. It s kind of mandatory need of hour, especially when we have young people all around us. I am hopeful that people who are from Kerala would shed some more background light on what has been happening.

Books I haven t yet submitted an application for Debconf. But my idea is irrespective of whether or not I m there, I do hope we can have a library where people can donate books and people can take away books as well. A kind of circular marketplace/library where just somebody notes what books are available. Even if 100 odd people are coming to Debconf that easily means 100 books of various languages. That in itself would be interesting and to see what people are reading, wanting to discuss etc. We could even have readings. IIRC, in 2016 we had a children s area, maybe we could do some readings from some books to children which fuels their imagination. Even people like me who are deaf would be willing to look at excerpts and be charmed by them. For instance, in all my forays of fantasy literature except for Babylon Steel I haven t read one book that has a female lead character and I have read probably around 100 odd fantasy books till date. Not a lot but still to my mind, is a big gap as far as literature is concerned. How would more women write fantasy if they don t have heroes to look forward to :(. Or maybe I may be missing some authors and characters that others know and I do not. Do others feel the same or this question hasn t even been asked ??? Dunno. Please let me know.

Debutsav So apparently Debutsav is happening 2 days from now. While I did come to know about it few days back I had to think whether I want to apply for this or apply for Debconf as I physically, emotionally can t do justice to both even though they are a few months apart. I wish all the best for the attendees as well as presenters sharing all the projects and hopefully somebody shares at least some of the projects that are presented there so we may know what new projects or softwares to follow or whatever. Till later.

4 June 2023

Debian Brasil: Oficina de tradu o do Manual do(a) Administrador(a) Debian em 13 de junho

A equipe de tradu o do Debian para o portugu s do Brasil realizar , no dia 13 de junho a partir das 20h, uma oficina de tradu o do Manual do(a) Administrador(a) Debian (The Debian Administrator's Handbook). O objetivo mostrar aos( s) iniciantes como colaborar na tradu o deste importante material, que existe desde 2004 e vem sendo traduzido para o portugu s ao longo dos anos. Agora a tradu o precisa ser atualizada para a vers o 12 do Debian (bookworm), que ser lan ada este m s. A ferramenta usada para traduzir o Manual o site weblate, ent o voc j pode criar sua conta e acessar o Projeto Debian Handbook para se ambientar. A oficina acontecer no formato online, e o link para participar da sala no jitsi ser divulgado no grupo debl10nptBR no telegram e no canal #debian-l10n-br do IRC.

12 April 2023

Andrej Shadura: Connecting lights to a Swytch e-bike kit

Last year I purchased an e-bike upgrade kit for my mother in law. We decided to install it on a bicycle she originally bought back in the 80s, which I fixed and refurbished a couple of years ago and used until September 2022 when I bought myself a Dutch Cortina U4. When I used this bicycle, I installed a lightweight Shutter Precision dynamo hub and compatible lights, XLC at the front, B chel at the back. Unfortunately, since Swytch is a front wheel with a built-in electric motor, these lights don t have a dynamo to connect to anymore, and Swytch doesn t have a dedicated connector for lights. I tried asking the manufacturer for more documentation or schematics, but they refused to do so. Luckily, a Canadian member of the Pedelecs forum managed to reverse-engineer the Swytch connector pinouts, which gave me an idea on how to proceed. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to replace both lights, and by trial and error I found specific models that worked. Before the Axa lights, I also tried B chel s Tivoli e-bike light, but it didn t work because the voltage was too low:
B chel Tivoli light that didn t workB chel Tivoli light that didn t work
Once I knew what to do, the rest was super easy So, here we go:
  1. Get a 3-pin (yellow) male connector with a cable, e.g. off AliExpress. Only two wires will be used, the white one is +4.2V (4-point-2, not 42!), the black one is earth. This will go into the throttle port. If you actually have a throttle, you need some sort of Y-splitter, but I don t, so this was not an issue for me. (However, I bought both sides (M and F), just to be sure.)
    Cable for the throttle portCable for the throttle port
  2. Purchase an Axa 606 E6-48 front light. The 606 comes in two versions, for dynamos and e-bikes, use the one for e-bikes; despite being officially rated as 6 48V, these lights work quite well off 4.2V too.
    Axa 606 E6-48 lightAxa 606 E6-48 light
  3. Purchase an Axa Spark Steady rear light. This light works with both AC and DC (just like the 606, the official rating is 6 48V), and works off 4.2V without an issue.
    Axa Spark lightAxa Spark light
  4. Wire lights up. I used tiny wire terminals to join the wires, but I m sure there are better options too. Insulate them well, make sure the red wire from the throttle connector is insulated too. I used a bunch of shrink tubes and black insulation tape. Since the voltage is not wildly different from what the dynamo hub produced (although AC, not DC), I was able to reuse the cable I had already routed to the rear carrier.
  5. Lights go on automatically as soon as you touch the power button on the battery pack, and stay on until the battery pack is switched off completely. I was considering adding a handlebar switch, but since I lost the only one I had, I had to do without.
Front lightFront light
Rear lightRear light
The side effect of using the Axa Spark at the rear is that it has a capacitor inside and keeps going for a couple more minutes after the battery pack is off I haven t decided whether that s a benefit or a drawback

16 February 2023

Gunnar Wolf: We are GREAT at handling multimedia!

I have mentioned several times in this blog, as well as by other communication means, that I am very happy with the laptop I bought (used) about a year and a half ago: an ARM-based Lenovo Yoga C630. Yes, I knew from the very beginning that using this laptop would pose a challenge to me in many ways, as full hardware support for ARM laptops are nowhere as easy as for plain boring x86 systems. But the advantages far outweigh the inconvenience (i.e. the hoops I had to jump through to handle video-out when I started teaching presentially, which are fortunately a thing of the past now). Anyway This post is not about my laptop. Back in 2018, I was honored to be appointed as a member of the Debian Technical Committee. Of course, that meant (due to the very clear and clever point of the Debian Constitution that my tenure in the Committee (as well as Niko Tyni s) finished in January 1, 2023. We were invited to take part of a Jitsi call as a last meeting, as well as to welcome Matthew Garrett to the Committee. Of course, I arranged so I would be calling from my desktop system at work (for which I have an old, terrible webcam but as long as I don t need to control screen sharing too finely, mostly works). Out of eight people in the call, two had complete or quite crippling failures with their multimedia setup, and one had a frozen image (at least as far as I could tell). So Yes, Debian is indeed good and easy and simple and reliable for most nontechnical users using standard tools. But I guess that we power users enjoy tweaking our setup to our precise particular liking. Or that we just don t care about frivolities such as having a working multimedia setup. Or I don t know what happens. But the fact that close to half of the Technical Committee, which should consist of Debian Developers who know their way around technical obstacles, cannot get a working multimedia setup for a simple, easy WebRTC call (even after a pandemic that made us all work via teleconferencing solutions on a daily basis!) is just Beautiful

15 February 2023

Valhalla's Things: My experience with a PinePhone

Posted on February 15, 2023
I ve had and used1 a PinePhone for quite some time now, and a shiny new blog sounds like a good time to do a review of my experience. TL;DL: I love it, but my use cases may not be very typical. While I ve had a mobile phone since an early time (my parents made me carry one for emergencies before it was usual for my peers) I ve never used a typical smartphone (android / iPhone / those other proprietary things) because I can t trust them not to be designed to work against me (data collection, ads, tricking users into micro payments, and other antipatterns of proprietary software design), and bringing them to sanity as most of the people I know do is too much effort for my tastes. Instead, as a phone I keep using an old nokia featurephone2 which is reliable, only requires charging once a week, and can easily survive falling from hand height to the ground, even if thrown 3. And then I ve been carrying a variety of other devices to do other computer-like tasks; earlier it was just a laptop, or a netbook, a Pandora (all of which used a dongle to connect to mobile network internet) then I tried a phone with FirefoxOS (it could have been better) and now the PinePhone has taken their place, at least when I m not carrying a laptop anyway. So, the tasks I use the PinePhone for are mostly:
  1. sending and receiving xmpp messages, with no need for notifications (when somebody needs to tell me something where urgency is required, they know to use the other phone, either with a call or an sms);
  2. tethering an internet connection to the laptop;
  3. reading djvu scans of old books while standing in a queue or something;
  4. checking something on the internet when I m not close to a real computer (i.e. one with a keyboard and a big screen);
  5. running a timer while heat-setting fabric paint with an iron (and reading a djvu book at the same time yes, this is a very specific task, but it has happened multiple times already :D );
  6. running a calculator with unit conversions;
  7. running the odd command line program;
  8. taking pictures, especially those that I want to send soon (I often also carry a DSLR camera, but I tend to wait a few days before I download them from the card);
  9. map related things.
3 and 5 work perfectly well, no issues there. 1, 2 and 4 usually work just fine, except for the fact that sometimes while the phone is suspended it forgets about being a phone, and needs to be restarted to turn the modem back on. It s not a big deal while using the phone, I just need to check before I try to use it after a few hours. For 1, I also had to take care to install dino-im from experimental, as up to now the features required to fit the interface in a mobile screen aren t available in the official release, but I believe that this has just been fixed. Somewhat related to 4, I ve also installed kiwix and the dumps of wiktionary and wikivoyage, but I haven t had a chance to travel much, so I m not really using it. For 6 I m quite happy with qalculate, the GUI version of qalc (which is what I use on my laptop), even if it has a few minor interface issues, and 7 of course works as well as it can, given the limitations of a small screen and virtual keyboard. 8 is, let us say, problematic. The camera on the PinePhone is peculiar, only works with a specific software, and even there the quality of the pictures is, well, low-fi, vintagey pictures are a look and that s a specific artistic choice, right? Thanks to the hard work of the megapixels maintainer the quality has improved a lot, and these days it is usable, but there are still limits (no webcam in the browser, no recording of videos). 9 is really bad. A few times I can remember getting a GPS fix. A few times in many months, and now and then I keep trying, to see if a miracle has happened, but usually I only get a vague position from wifi data (which isn t great, when walking through less densely populated areas). I ve seen another PinePhone running gpsd and getting data from an external GPS receiver via bluetooth, and if I really needed it I may seriously consider that solution. Also, the apps available in mobian aren t great either, even when compared to running tangogps on an OpenMoko with pre-downloaded maps (I mean! I don t think my expectations are too high!). I ve heard that PureMaps is quite good as a software, but a bit of a PITA to package for Debian, and I really hope that one day there will be a linux-first mobile device with good GPS hardware, so that people will be encouraged to fix the software side. Thankfully, I don t usually need GPS and navigation software; when I m driving into places I don t know I usually have a human navigator, and when walking into places I can do with just a static map (either printed on paper or on the PinePhone), maybe some pre-calculated route from the OSM website and looking at street names to find out where I am. Overall, for my use cases the PinePhone works just fine and is an useful addition to the things I always carry with me, and I don t feel the pressing need to get an android phone. I don t think it s ready as a daily driver for everybody, but I think that depending on one s needs it s worth asking around (I d recommend doing so on the fediverse with a #PinePhone and #mobian hashtag), as there is a non-zero chance that it may be a good fit for you.

  1. which, if I m not mistaken, is often not implied by the fact of owning it :D
  2. for very low values of feature: it doesn t have any kind of internet access, and there are only 3 games, one of which is snake.
  3. don t ask.

8 February 2023

Chris Lamb: Most anticipated films of 2023

Very few highly-anticipated movies appear in January and February, as the bigger releases are timed so they can be considered for the Golden Globes in January and the Oscars in late February or early March, so film fans have the advantage of a few weeks after the New Year to collect their thoughts on the year ahead. In other words, I'm not actually late in outlining below the films I'm most looking forward to in 2023...

Barbie No, seriously! If anyone can make a good film about a doll franchise, it's probably Greta Gerwig. Not only was Little Women (2019) more than admirable, the same could be definitely said for Lady Bird (2017). More importantly, I can't help feel she was the real 'Driver' behind Frances Ha (2012), one of the better modern takes on Claudia Weill's revelatory Girlfriends (1978). Still, whenever I remember that Barbie will be a film about a billion-dollar toy and media franchise with a nettlesome history, I recall I rubbished the "Facebook film" that turned into The Social Network (2010). Anyway, the trailer for Barbie is worth watching, if only because it seems like a parody of itself.

Blitz It's difficult to overstate just how important the aerial bombing of London during World War II is crucial to understanding the British psyche, despite it being a constructed phenomenon from the outset. Without wishing to underplay the deaths of over 40,000 civilian deaths, Angus Calder pointed out in the 1990s that the modern mythology surrounding the event "did not evolve spontaneously; it was a propaganda construct directed as much at [then neutral] American opinion as at British." It will therefore be interesting to see how British Grenadian Trinidadian director Steve McQueen addresses a topic so essential to the British self-conception. (Remember the controversy in right-wing circles about the sole Indian soldier in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk (2017)?) McQueen is perhaps best known for his 12 Years a Slave (2013), but he recently directed a six-part film anthology for the BBC which addressed the realities of post-Empire immigration to Britain, and this leads me to suspect he sees the Blitz and its surrounding mythology with a more critical perspective. But any attempt to complicate the story of World War II will be vigorously opposed in a way that will make the recent hullabaloo surrounding The Crown seem tame. All this is to say that the discourse surrounding this release may be as interesting as the film itself.

Dune, Part II Coming out of the cinema after the first part of Denis Vileneve's adaptation of Dune (2021), I was struck by the conception that it was less of a fresh adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert than an attempt to rehabilitate David Lynch's 1984 version and in a broader sense, it was also an attempt to reestablish the primacy of cinema over streaming TV and the myriad of other distractions in our lives. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the original novel, finding within it a certain prurience regarding hereditary military regimes and writing about them with a certain sense of glee that belies a secret admiration for them... not to mention an eyebrow-raising allegory for the Middle East. Still, Dune, Part II is going to be a fantastic spectacle.

Ferrari It'll be curious to see how this differs substantially from the recent Ford v Ferrari (2019), but given that Michael Mann's Heat (1995) so effectively re-energised the gangster/heist genre, I'm more than willing to kick the tires of this about the founder of the eponymous car manufacturer. I'm in the minority for preferring Mann's Thief (1981) over Heat, in part because the former deals in more abstract themes, so I'd have perhaps prefered to look forward to a more conceptual film from Mann over a story about one specific guy.

How Do You Live There are a few directors one can look forward to watching almost without qualification, and Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke Howl's Moving Castle, etc.) is one of them. And this is especially so given that The Wind Rises (2013) was meant to be the last collaboration between Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Let's hope he is able to come out of retirement in another ten years.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Given I had a strong dislike of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), I seriously doubt I will enjoy anything this film has to show me, but with 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark remaining one of my most treasured films (read my brief homage), I still feel a strong sense of obligation towards the Indiana Jones name, despite it feeling like the copper is being pulled out of the walls of this franchise today.

Kafka I only know Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland through her Spoor (2017), an adaptation of Olga Tokarczuk's 2009 eco-crime novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. I wasn't an unqualified fan of Spoor (nor the book on which it is based), but I am interested in Holland's take on the life of Czech author Franz Kafka, an author enmeshed with twentieth-century art and philosophy, especially that of central Europe. Holland has mentioned she intends to tell the story "as a kind of collage," and I can hope that it is an adventurous take on the over-furrowed biopic genre. Or perhaps Gregor Samsa will awake from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed in his bed into a huge verminous biopic.

The Killer It'll be interesting to see what path David Fincher is taking today, especially after his puzzling and strangely cold Mank (2020) portraying the writing process behind Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941). The Killer is said to be a straight-to-Netflix thriller based on the graphic novel about a hired assassin, which makes me think of Fincher's Zodiac (2007), and, of course, Se7en (1995). I'm not as entranced by Fincher as I used to be, but any film with Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton (with a score by Trent Reznor) is always going to get my attention.

Killers of the Flower Moon In Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese directs an adaptation of a book about the FBI's investigation into a conspiracy to murder Osage tribe members in the early years of the twentieth century in order to deprive them of their oil-rich land. (The only thing more quintessentially American than apple pie is a conspiracy combined with a genocide.) Separate from learning more about this disquieting chapter of American history, I'd love to discover what attracted Scorsese to this particular story: he's one of the few top-level directors who have the ability to lucidly articulate their intentions and motivations.

Napoleon It often strikes me that, despite all of his achievements and fame, it's somehow still possible to claim that Ridley Scott is relatively underrated compared to other directors working at the top level today. Besides that, though, I'm especially interested in this film, not least of all because I just read Tolstoy's War and Peace (read my recent review) and am working my way through the mind-boggling 431-minute Soviet TV adaptation, but also because several auteur filmmakers (including Stanley Kubrick) have tried to make a Napoleon epic and failed.

Oppenheimer In a way, a biopic about the scientist responsible for the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project seems almost perfect material for Christopher Nolan. He can certainly rely on stars to queue up to be in his movies (Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, etc.), but whilst I'm certain it will be entertaining on many fronts, I fear it will fall into the well-established Nolan mould of yet another single man struggling with obsession, deception and guilt who is trying in vain to balance order and chaos in the world.

The Way of the Wind Marked by philosophical and spiritual overtones, all of Terrence Malick's films are perfumed with themes of transcendence, nature and the inevitable conflict between instinct and reason. My particular favourite is his stunning Days of Heaven (1978), but The Thin Red Line (1998) and A Hidden Life (2019) also touched me ways difficult to relate, and are one of the few films about the Second World War that don't touch off my sensitivity about them (see my remarks about Blitz above). It is therefore somewhat Malickian that his next film will be a biblical drama about the life of Jesus. Given Malick's filmography, I suspect this will be far more subdued than William Wyler's 1959 Ben-Hur and significantly more equivocal in its conviction compared to Paolo Pasolini's ardently progressive The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). However, little beyond that can be guessed, and the film may not even appear until 2024 or even 2025.

Zone of Interest I was mesmerised by Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin (2013), and there is much to admire in his borderline 'revisionist gangster' film Sexy Beast (2000), so I will definitely be on the lookout for this one. The only thing making me hesitate is that Zone of Interest is based on a book by Martin Amis about a romance set inside the Auschwitz concentration camp. I haven't read the book, but Amis has something of a history in his grappling with the history of the twentieth century, and he seems to do it in a way that never sits right with me. But if Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997) proves anything at all, it's all in the adaption.

28 January 2023

Russ Allbery: Review: The Library of the Dead

Review: The Library of the Dead, by T.L. Huchu
Series: Edinburgh Nights #1
Publisher: Tor
Copyright: 2021
Printing: 2022
ISBN: 1-250-76777-6
Format: Kindle
Pages: 329
The Library of the Dead is the first book in a post-apocalyptic (sort of) urban fantasy series set in Edinburgh, written by Zimbabwean author (and current Scotland resident) T.L. Huchu. Ropa is a ghosttalker. This means she can see people who have died but are still lingering because they have unfinished business. She can stabilize them and understand what they're saying with the help of her mbira. At the age of fourteen, she's the sole source of income for her small family. She lives with her grandmother and younger sister in a caravan (people in the US call it an RV), paying rent to an enterprising farmer turned landlord. Ropa's Edinburgh is much worse off than ours. Everything is poorer, more run-down, and more tenuous, but other than a few hints about global warming, we never learn the history. It reminded me a bit of the world in Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower in the feel of civilization crumbling without a specific cause. Unlike that series, The Library of the Dead is not about the collapse or responses to it. The partial ruin of the city is the mostly unremarked backdrop of Ropa's life. Much of the book follows Ropa's daily life carrying messages for ghosts and taking care of her family. She does discover the titular library when a wealthier friend who got a job there shows it off to her, but it has no significant role in the plot. (That was disappointing.) The core plot, once Ropa is convinced by her grandmother to focus on it, is the missing son of a dead woman, who turns out to not be the only missing child. This is urban fantasy with the standard first-person perspective, so Ropa is the narrator. This style of book needs a memorable protagonist, and Ropa is certainly that. She's a talker who takes obvious delight in narrating her own story alongside a constant patter of opinions, observations, and Scottish dialect. Ropa is also poor. That last may not sound that notable; a lot of urban fantasy protagonists are not well-off. But most of them feel culturally middle-class in a way that Ropa does not. Money may be a story constraint in other books, but it rarely feels like a life constraint and experience the way it does here. It's hard to describe the difference in tone succinctly, since it's a lot of small things: the constant presence of money concerns, the frustration of possessions that are stolen or missing and can't be replaced, the tedious chores one has to do when there's no money, even the language and vulgarity Ropa uses. This is rare in fantasy and excellent characterization work. Given that, I am still frustrated with myself over how much I struggled with Ropa as a narrator. She's happy to talk about what is happening to her and what she's learning about (she listens voraciously to non-fiction while running messages), but she deflects, minimizes, or rushes past any mention of what she's feeling. If you don't like the angst that's common from urban fantasy protagonists, this may be the book for you. I have complained about that angst before, and therefore feel like this should have been the book for me, but apparently I need a minimum level of emotional processing and introspection from the narrator. Ropa is utterly unwilling to do any of that. It's possible to piece together what she's feeling and worrying about, but the reader has to rely on hints and oblique comments that she passes over quickly. It didn't help that Ropa is not interested in the same things in her world that I was interested in. She's not an unreliable narrator in the conventional sense; she doesn't lie to the reader or intentionally hide information. And yet, the experience of reading this book was, for me, similar to reading a book with an unreliable narrator. Ropa consistently refused to look at what I wanted her to look at or think about what I wanted her to think about. For example, when she has an opportunity to learn magic through books from the titular library, her initial enthusiasm is infectious. Huchu does a great job showing the excitement of someone who likes new ideas and likes telling other people about the neat things she just learned. But when things don't work the way she expected from the books, she doesn't follow up, experiment, or try to understand why. When her grandmother tries to explain something to her from a different angle, she blows her off and refuses to pay attention. And when she does get magic to work, she never tries to connect that to her previous understanding. I kept waiting for Ropa to try to build her own mental model of magic, but she would only toy with an idea for a few pages and then put it down and never mention it again. This is not a fault in the book, just a mismatch between the book and what I wanted to read. All of this is consistent with Ropa's defensive strategies, emotional resiliency, and approach to understanding the world. (I strongly suspect Huchu was giving Ropa some ADHD characteristics, and if so, I think he got it spot on.) Given that, I tried to pivot to appreciating the characterization and the world, but that ran into another mismatch I had with this book, and the reason why I passed on it when it initially came out. I tend to avoid fantasy novels about ghosts. This is not because I mind ghosts themselves, but I've learned from experience that authors who write about ghosts usually also write about other things that I don't want to read about. That unfortunately was the case here; The Library of the Dead was too far into horror for me. There's child abuse, drugs, body horror, and similar nastiness here, more than I wanted in my head. Ropa's full-speed-ahead attitude and refusal to dwell on anything made it a bit easier to read, but it was still too much for me. Ropa is a great character who is refreshingly different than the typical urban fantasy protagonist, and the few hints of the magical library and world background we get were intriguing. This book was not for me, but I can see why other people will love it. Followed by Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments. Rating: 6 out of 10

12 January 2023

Jonathan McDowell: Building a read-only Debian root setup: Part 1

I mentioned in the post about upgrading my home internet that part of the work I did was creating a read-only Debian root with a squashfs image. This post covers the details of how I boot with that image; a later post will cover how I build the squashfs image. First, David Reader kindly pointed me at his rodebian setup, which was helpful in making me think about the whole problem but ultimately not the direction I went. Primarily because on the old router (an RB3011) I am space constrained, with only 120M of usable flash, and so ideally I wanted as much as possible of the system in a well compressed filesystem. squashfs seemed like the best option for that, and ultimately I ended up with a 39M image. I ve then used overlayfs to mount a tmpfs, so I get what looks like a writeable system without having to do too many tweaks to the actual install. On the plus side I can then see exactly what is getting written where and decide whether I need to update something in the squashfs. I don t boot with an initrd - for initial testing I booted directly off a USB stick. I ve actually ended up continuing to do this in production, because I ve had no pressing reason to move it all to booting off internal flash (I ve ended up with a Sandisk SDCZ430-032G-G46 which is tiny). However nothing I m going to describe is dependent on that - this would work perfectly well for a initial UBIFS rootfs on internal NAND. So the basic overview is I boot off a minimal rootfs, mount a squashfs, create an appropriate tmpfs, mount an overlayfs that combines the two, then pivotroot into the overlayfs and exec its init so it becomes the rootfs. For the minimal rootfs I started with busybox, in particular I used the armhf busybox-static package from Debian. My RB5009 is an ARM64, but I wanted to be able to test on the RB3011 as well, which is ARMv7. Picking an armhf binary for the minimal rootfs lets me use the same image for both. Using the static build helps reduce the number of pieces involved in putting it all together. The busybox binary goes in /bin. I was able to cheat and chroot into the empty rootfs and call busybox --install -s to create symlinks for all the tools it provides, but I could have done this manually. There s only a handful that are actually needed, but it s amazing how much is crammed into a 1.2M binary. /sbin/init is a shell script:
# Make sure we have a sane date
if [ -e /data/saved-date ]; then
        CURRENT_DATE=$(date -Iseconds)
        if [ "$ CURRENT_DATE:0:4 " -lt "2022" -o \
                        "$ CURRENT_DATE:0:4 " -gt "2030" ]; then
                echo Setting initial date
                date -s "$(cat /data/saved-date)"
# Work out what platform we're on
ARCH=$(uname -m)
if [ "$ ARCH " == "aarch64" ]; then
# Mount a tmpfs to store the changes
mount -t tmpfs root-rw /mnt/overlay/rw
# Make the directories we need in the tmpfs
mkdir /mnt/overlay/rw/upper
mkdir /mnt/overlay/rw/work
# Mount the squashfs and build an overlay root filesystem of it + the tmpfs
mount -t squashfs -o loop /data/router.$ ARCH .squashfs /mnt/overlay/lower
mount -t overlay \
        -o lowerdir=/mnt/overlay/lower,upperdir=/mnt/overlay/rw/upper,workdir=/mnt/overlay/rw/work \
        overlayfs-root /mnt/root
# Build the directories we need within the new root
mkdir /mnt/root/mnt/flash
mkdir /mnt/root/mnt/overlay
mkdir /mnt/root/mnt/overlay/lower
mkdir /mnt/root/mnt/overlay/rw
# Copy any stored state
if [ -e /data/state.$ ARCH .tar ]; then
        echo Restoring stored state
        cd /mnt/root
        tar xf /data/state.$ ARCH .tar
cd /mnt/root
pivot_root . mnt/flash
echo Switching into root filesystem
exec chroot . sh -c "$(cat <<END
mount --move /mnt/flash/mnt/overlay/lower /mnt/overlay/lower
mount --move /mnt/flash/mnt/overlay/rw /mnt/overlay/rw
exec /sbin/init
Most of what the script is doing is sorting out the squashfs + tmpfs backed overlayfs that becomes the full root filesystems, but there are a few other bits to note. First, we pick up a saved date from /data/saved-date - the router has no RTC and while it ll sort itself out with NTP once it gets networking up it s useful to make sure we don t end up comically far in the past or future. Second, the script looks at what architecture we re running and picks up an appropriate squashfs image from /data based on that. This let me use the same USB stick for testing on both the RB3011 and the RB5011. Finally we allow for a /data/state.$ ARCH .tar file to let us pick up changes to the rootfs at boot time - this prevents having to rebuild the squashfs image every time there s a persistent change. The other piece that doesn t show up in the script is that the kernel and its modules are all installed into this initial rootfs (and then symlinked from the squashfs). This lets me build a mostly modular kernel, as long as all the necessary drivers to mount the USB stick are built in. Once the system is fully booted the initial rootfs is available at /mnt/flash, by default mounted read-only (to avoid inadvertent writes), but able to be remounted to update the squashfs image, install a new kernel, or update the state tarball. /mnt/overlay/rw/upper/ is where updates to the overlayfs are written, which provides an easy way to see what files are changing, initially to determine what might need tweaked in the squashfs creation process and subsequently to be able to see what needs updated in the state tarball.

30 December 2022

Chris Lamb: Favourite books of 2022: Non-fiction

In my three most recent posts, I went over the memoirs and biographies, classics and fiction books that I enjoyed the most in 2022. But in the last of my book-related posts for 2022, I'll be going over my favourite works of non-fiction. Books that just missed the cut here include Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost (1998) on the role of Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State, Johann Hari's Stolen Focus (2022) (a personal memoir on relating to how technology is increasingly fragmenting our attention), Amia Srinivasan's The Right to Sex (2021) (a misleadingly named set of philosophic essays on feminism), Dana Heller et al.'s The Selling of 9/11: How a National Tragedy Became a Commodity (2005), John Berger's mindbending Ways of Seeing (1972) and Louise Richardson's What Terrorists Want (2006).

The Great War and Modern Memory (1975)
Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (1989) Paul Fussell Rather than describe the battles, weapons, geopolitics or big personalities of the two World Wars, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory & Wartime are focused instead on how the two wars have been remembered by their everyday participants. Drawing on the memoirs and memories of soldiers and civilians along with a brief comparison with the actual events that shaped them, Fussell's two books are a compassionate, insightful and moving piece of analysis. Fussell primarily sets himself against the admixture of nostalgia and trauma that obscures the origins and unimaginable experience of participating in these wars; two wars that were, in his view, a "perceptual and rhetorical scandal from which total recovery is unlikely." He takes particular aim at the dishonesty of hindsight:
For the past fifty years, the Allied war has been sanitised and romanticised almost beyond recognition by the sentimental, the loony patriotic, the ignorant and the bloodthirsty. I have tried to balance the scales. [And] in unbombed America especially, the meaning of the war [seems] inaccessible.
The author does not engage in any of the customary rose-tinted view of war, yet he remains understanding and compassionate towards those who try to locate a reason within what was quite often senseless barbarism. If anything, his despondency and pessimism about the Second World War (the war that Fussell himself fought in) shines through quite acutely, and this is especially the case in what he chooses to quote from others:
"It was common [ ] throughout the [Okinawa] campaign for replacements to get hit before we even knew their names. They came up confused, frightened, and hopeful, got wounded or killed, and went right back to the rear on the route by which they had come, shocked, bleeding, or stiff. They were forlorn figures coming up to the meat grinder and going right back out of it like homeless waifs, unknown and faceless to us, like unread books on a shelf."
It would take a rather heartless reader to fail to be sobered by this final simile, and an even colder one to view Fussell's citation of such an emotive anecdote to be manipulative. Still, stories and cruel ironies like this one infuse this often-angry book, but it is not without astute and shrewd analysis as well, especially on the many qualitative differences between the two conflicts that simply cannot be captured by facts and figures alone. For example:
A measure of the psychological distance of the Second [World] War from the First is the rarity, in 1914 1918, of drinking and drunkenness poems.
Indeed so. In fact, what makes Fussell's project so compelling and perhaps even unique is that he uses these non-quantitive measures to try and take stock of what happened. After all, this was a war conducted by humans, not the abstract school of statistics. And what is the value of a list of armaments destroyed by such-and-such a regiment when compared with truly consequential insights into both how the war affected, say, the psychology of postwar literature ("Prolonged trench warfare, whether enacted or remembered, fosters paranoid melodrama, which I take to be a primary mode in modern writing."), the specific words adopted by combatants ("It is a truism of military propaganda that monosyllabic enemies are easier to despise than others") as well as the very grammar of interaction:
The Field Service Post Card [in WW1] has the honour of being the first widespread exemplary of that kind of document which uniquely characterises the modern world: the "Form". [And] as the first widely known example of dehumanised, automated communication, the post card popularised a mode of rhetoric indispensable to the conduct of later wars fought by great faceless conscripted armies.
And this wouldn't be a book review without argument-ending observations that:
Indicative of the German wartime conception [of victory] would be Hitler and Speer's elaborate plans for the ultimate reconstruction of Berlin, which made no provision for a library.
Our myths about the two world wars possess an undisputed power, in part because they contain an essential truth the atrocities committed by Germany and its allies were not merely extreme or revolting, but their full dimensions (embodied in the Holocaust and the Holodomor) remain essentially inaccessible within our current ideological framework. Yet the two wars are better understood as an abyss in which we were all dragged into the depths of moral depravity, rather than a battle pitched by the forces of light against the forces of darkness. Fussell is one of the few observers that can truly accept and understand this truth and is still able to speak to us cogently on the topic from the vantage point of experience. The Second World War which looms so large in our contemporary understanding of the modern world (see below) may have been necessary and unavoidable, but Fussell convinces his reader that it was morally complicated "beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest," and that the only way to maintain a na ve belief in the myth that these wars were a Manichaean fight between good and evil is to overlook reality. There are many texts on the two World Wars that can either stir the intellect or move the emotions, but Fussell's two books do both. A uniquely perceptive and intelligent commentary; outstanding.

Longitude (1995) Dava Sobel Since Man first decided to sail the oceans, knowing one's location has always been critical. Yet doing so reliably used to be a serious problem if you didn't know where you were, you are far more likely to die and/or lose your valuable cargo. But whilst finding one's latitude (ie. your north south position) had effectively been solved by the beginning of the 17th century, finding one's (east west) longitude was far from trustworthy in comparison. This book first published in 1995 is therefore something of an anachronism. As in, we readily use the GPS facilities of our phones today without hesitation, so we find it difficult to imagine a reality in which knowing something fundamental like your own location is essentially unthinkable. It became clear in the 18th century, though, that in order to accurately determine one's longitude, what you actually needed was an accurate clock. In Longitude, therefore, we read of the remarkable story of John Harrison and his quest to create a timepiece that would not only keep time during a long sea voyage but would survive the rough ocean conditions as well. Self-educated and a carpenter by trade, Harrison made a number of important breakthroughs in keeping accurate time at sea, and Longitude describes his novel breakthroughs in a way that is both engaging and without talking down to the reader. Still, this book covers much more than that, including the development of accurate longitude going hand-in-hand with advancements in cartography as well as in scientific experiments to determine the speed of light: experiments that led to the formulation of quantum mechanics. It also outlines the work being done by Harrison's competitors. 'Competitors' is indeed the correct word here, as Parliament offered a huge prize to whoever could create such a device, and the ramifications of this tremendous financial incentive are an essential part of this story. For the most part, though, Longitude sticks to the story of Harrison and his evolving obsession with his creating the perfect timepiece. Indeed, one reason that Longitude is so resonant with readers is that many of the tropes of the archetypical 'English inventor' are embedded within Harrison himself. That is to say, here is a self-made man pushing against the establishment of the time, with his groundbreaking ideas being underappreciated in his life, or dishonestly purloined by his intellectual inferiors. At the level of allegory, then, I am minded to interpret this portrait of Harrison as a symbolic distillation of postwar Britain a nation acutely embarrassed by the loss of the Empire that is now repositioning itself as a resourceful but plucky underdog; a country that, with a combination of the brains of boffins and a healthy dose of charisma and PR, can still keep up with the big boys. (It is this same search for postimperial meaning I find in the fiction of John le Carr , and, far more famously, in the James Bond franchise.) All of this is left to the reader, of course, as what makes Longitute singularly compelling is its gentle manner and tone. Indeed, at times it was as if the doyenne of sci-fi Ursula K. LeGuin had a sideline in popular non-fiction. I realise it's a mark of critical distinction to downgrade the importance of popular science in favour of erudite academic texts, but Latitude is ample evidence that so-called 'pop' science need not be patronising or reductive at all.

Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court (1998) Edward Lazarus After the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in *Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that ended the Constitutional right to abortion conferred by Roe v Wade, I prioritised a few books in the queue about the judicial branch of the United States. One of these books was Closed Chambers, which attempts to assay, according to its subtitle, "The Rise, Fall and Future of the Modern Supreme Court". This book is not merely simply a learned guide to the history and functioning of the Court (although it is completely creditable in this respect); it's actually an 'insider' view of the workings of the institution as Lazurus was a clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun during the October term of 1988. Lazarus has therefore combined his experience as a clerk and his personal reflections (along with a substantial body of subsequent research) in order to communicate the collapse in comity between the Justices. Part of this book is therefore a pure history of the Court, detailing its important nineteenth-century judgements (such as Dred Scott which ruled that the Constitution did not consider Blacks to be citizens; and Plessy v. Ferguson which failed to find protection in the Constitution against racial segregation laws), as well as many twentieth-century cases that touch on the rather technical principle of substantive due process. Other layers of Lazurus' book are explicitly opinionated, however, and they capture the author's assessment of the Court's actions in the past and present [1998] day. Given the role in which he served at the Court, particular attention is given by Lazarus to the function of its clerks. These are revealed as being far more than the mere amanuenses they were hitherto believed to be. Indeed, the book is potentially unique in its the claim that the clerks have played a pivotal role in the deliberations, machinations and eventual rulings of the Court. By implication, then, the clerks have plaedy a crucial role in the internal controversies that surround many of the high-profile Supreme Court decisions decisions that, to the outsider at least, are presented as disinterested interpretations of Constitution of the United States. This is of especial importance given that, to Lazarus, "for all the attention we now pay to it, the Court remains shrouded in confusion and misunderstanding." Throughout his book, Lazarus complicates the commonplace view that the Court is divided into two simple right vs. left political factions, and instead documents an ever-evolving series of loosely held but strongly felt series of cabals, quid pro quo exchanges, outright equivocation and pure personal prejudices. (The age and concomitant illnesses of the Justices also appears to have a not insignificant effect on the Court's rulings as well.) In other words, Closed Chambers is not a book that will be read in a typical civics class in America, and the only time the book resorts to the customary breathless rhetoric about the US federal government is in its opening chapter:
The Court itself, a Greek-style temple commanding the crest of Capitol Hill, loomed above them in the dim light of the storm. Set atop a broad marble plaza and thirty-six steps, the Court stands in splendid isolation appropriate to its place at the pinnacle of the national judiciary, one of the three independent and "coequal" branches of American government. Once dubbed the Ivory Tower by architecture critics, the Court has a Corinthian colonnade and massive twenty-foot-high bronze doors that guard the single most powerful judicial institution in the Western world. Lights still shone in several offices to the right of the Court's entrance, and [ ]
Et cetera, et cetera. But, of course, this encomium to the inherent 'nobility' of the Supreme Court is quickly revealed to be a narrative foil, as Lazarus soon razes this dangerously na ve conception to the ground:
[The] institution is [now] broken into unyielding factions that have largely given up on a meaningful exchange of their respective views or, for that matter, a meaningful explication or defense of their own views. It is of Justices who in many important cases resort to transparently deceitful and hypocritical arguments and factual distortions as they discard judicial philosophy and consistent interpretation in favor of bottom-line results. This is a Court so badly splintered, yet so intent on lawmaking, that shifting 5-4 majorities, or even mere pluralities, rewrite whole swaths of constitutional law on the authority of a single, often idiosyncratic vote. It is also a Court where Justices yield great and excessive power to immature, ideologically driven clerks, who in turn use that power to manipulate their bosses and the institution they ostensibly serve.
Lazurus does not put forward a single, overarching thesis, but in the final chapters, he does suggest a potential future for the Court:
In the short run, the cure for what ails the Court lies solely with the Justices. It is their duty, under the shield of life tenure, to recognize the pathologies affecting their work and to restore the vitality of American constitutionalism. Ultimately, though, the long-term health of the Court depends on our own resolve on whom [we] select to join that institution.
Back in 1998, Lazurus might have had room for this qualified optimism. But from the vantage point of 2022, it appears that the "resolve" of the United States citizenry was not muscular enough to meet his challenge. After all, Lazurus was writing before Bush v. Gore in 2000, which arrogated to the judicial branch the ability to decide a presidential election; the disillusionment of Barack Obama's failure to nominate a replacement for Scalia; and many other missteps in the Court as well. All of which have now been compounded by the Trump administration's appointment of three Republican-friendly justices to the Court, including hypocritically appointing Justice Barrett a mere 38 days before the 2020 election. And, of course, the leaking and ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, the true extent of which has not been yet. Not of a bit of this is Lazarus' fault, of course, but the Court's recent decisions (as well as the liberal hagiographies of 'RBG') most perforce affect one's reading of the concluding chapters. The other slight defect of Closed Chambers is that, whilst it often implies the importance of the federal and state courts within the judiciary, it only briefly positions the Supreme Court's decisions in relation to what was happening in the House, Senate and White House at the time. This seems to be increasingly relevant as time goes on: after all, it seems fairly clear even to this Brit that relying on an activist Supreme Court to enact progressive laws must be interpreted as a failure of the legislative branch to overcome the perennial problems of the filibuster, culture wars and partisan bickering. Nevertheless, Lazarus' book is in equal parts ambitious, opinionated, scholarly and dare I admit it? wonderfully gossipy. By juxtaposing history, memoir, and analysis, Closed Chambers combines an exacting evaluation of the Court's decisions with a lively portrait of the intellectual and emotional intensity that has grown within the Supreme Court's pseudo-monastic environment all while it struggles with the most impactful legal issues of the day. This book is an excellent and well-written achievement that will likely never be repeated, and a must-read for anyone interested in this ever-increasingly important branch of the US government.

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (2018)
Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy (2021) Adam Tooze The economic historian Adam Tooze has often been labelled as an unlikely celebrity, but in the fourteen years since the global financial crisis of 2008, a growing audience has been looking for answers about the various failures of the modern economy. Tooze, a professor of history at New York's Columbia University, has written much that is penetrative and thought-provoking on this topic, and as a result, he has generated something of a cult following amongst economists, historians and the online left. I actually read two Tooze books this year. The first, Crashed (2018), catalogues the scale of government intervention required to prop up global finance after the 2008 financial crisis, and it characterises the different ways that countries around the world failed to live up to the situation, such as doing far too little, or taking action far too late. The connections between the high-risk subprime loans, credit default swaps and the resulting liquidity crisis in the US in late 2008 is fairly well known today in part thanks to films such as Adam McKay's 2015 The Big Short and much improved economic literacy in media reportage. But Crashed makes the implicit claim that, whilst the specific and structural origins of the 2008 crisis are worth scrutinising in exacting detail, it is the reaction of states in the months and years after the crash that has been overlooked as a result. After all, this is a reaction that has not only shaped a new economic order, it has created one that does not fit any conventional idea about the way the world 'ought' to be run. Tooze connects the original American banking crisis to the (multiple) European debt crises with a larger crisis of liberalism. Indeed, Tooze somehow manages to cover all these topics and more, weaving in Trump, Brexit and Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, as well as the evolving role of China in the post-2008 economic order. Where Crashed focused on the constellation of consequences that followed the events of 2008, Shutdown is a clear and comprehensive account of the way the world responded to the economic impact of Covid-19. The figures are often jaw-dropping: soon after the disease spread around the world, 95% of the world's economies contracted simultaneously, and at one point, the global economy shrunk by approximately 20%. Tooze's keen and sobering analysis of what happened is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it came out whilst the pandemic was still unfolding. In fact, this leads quickly to one of the book's few flaws: by being published so quickly, Shutdown prematurely over-praises China's 'zero Covid' policy, and these remarks will make a reader today squirm in their chair. Still, despite the regularity of these references (after all, mentioning China is very useful when one is directly comparing economic figures in early 2021, for examples), these are actually minor blemishes on the book's overall thesis. That is to say, Crashed is not merely a retelling of what happened in such-and-such a country during the pandemic; it offers in effect a prediction about what might be coming next. Whilst the economic responses to Covid averted what could easily have been another Great Depression (and thus showed it had learned some lessons from 2008), it had only done so by truly discarding the economic rule book. The by-product of inverting this set of written and unwritten conventions that have governed the world for the past 50 years, this 'Washington consensus' if you well, has yet to be fully felt. Of course, there are many parallels between these two books by Tooze. Both the liquidity crisis outlined in Crashed and the economic response to Covid in Shutdown exposed the fact that one of the central tenets of the modern economy ie. that financial markets can be trusted to regulate themselves was entirely untrue, and likely was false from the very beginning. And whilst Adam Tooze does not offer a singular piercing insight (conveying a sense of rigorous mastery instead), he may as well be asking whether we're simply going to lurch along from one crisis to the next, relying on the technocrats in power to fix problems when everything blows up again. The answer may very well be yes.

Looking for the Good War: American Amnesia and the Violent Pursuit of Happiness (2021) Elizabeth D. Samet Elizabeth D. Samet's Looking for the Good War answers the following question what would be the result if you asked a professor of English to disentangle the complex mythology we have about WW2 in the context of the recent US exit of Afghanistan? Samet's book acts as a twenty-first-century update of a kind to Paul Fussell's two books (reviewed above), as well as a deeper meditation on the idea that each new war is seen through the lens of the previous one. Indeed, like The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) and Wartime (1989), Samet's book is a perceptive work of demystification, but whilst Fussell seems to have been inspired by his own traumatic war experience, Samet is not only informed by her teaching West Point military cadets but by the physical and ontological wars that have occurred during her own life as well. A more scholarly and dispassionate text is the result of Samet's relative distance from armed combat, but it doesn't mean Looking for the Good War lacks energy or inspiration. Samet shares John Adams' belief that no political project can entirely shed the innate corruptions of power and ambition and so it is crucial to analyse and re-analyse the role of WW2 in contemporary American life. She is surely correct that the Second World War has been universally elevated as a special, 'good' war. Even those with exceptionally giddy minds seem to treat WW2 as hallowed:
It is nevertheless telling that one of the few occasions to which Trump responded with any kind of restraint while he was in office was the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.
What is the source of this restraint, and what has nurtured its growth in the eight decades since WW2 began? Samet posits several reasons for this, including the fact that almost all of the media about the Second World War is not only suffused with symbolism and nostalgia but, less obviously, it has been made by people who have no experience of the events that they depict. Take Stephen Ambrose, author of Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers miniseries: "I was 10 years old when the war ended," Samet quotes of Ambrose. "I thought the returning veterans were giants who had saved the world from barbarism. I still think so. I remain a hero worshiper." If Looking for the Good War has a primary thesis, then, it is that childhood hero worship is no basis for a system of government, let alone a crusading foreign policy. There is a straight line (to quote this book's subtitle) from the "American Amnesia" that obscures the reality of war to the "Violent Pursuit of Happiness." Samet's book doesn't merely just provide a modern appendix to Fussell's two works, however, as it adds further layers and dimensions he overlooked. For example, Samet provides some excellent insight on the role of Western, gangster and superhero movies, and she is especially good when looking at noir films as a kind of kaleidoscopic response to the Second World War:
Noir is a world ruled by bad decisions but also by bad timing. Chance, which plays such a pivotal role in war, bleeds into this world, too.
Samet rightfully weaves the role of women into the narrative as well. Women in film noir are often celebrated as 'independent' and sassy, correctly reflecting their newly-found independence gained during WW2. But these 'liberated' roles are not exactly a ringing endorsement of this independence: the 'femme fatale' and the 'tart', etc., reflect a kind of conditional freedom permitted to women by a post-War culture which is still wedded to an outmoded honour culture. In effect, far from being novel and subversive, these roles for women actually underwrote the ambient cultural disapproval of women's presence in the workforce. Samet later connects this highly-conditional independence with the liberation of Afghan women, which:
is inarguably one of the more palatable outcomes of our invasion, and the protection of women's rights has been invoked on the right and the left as an argument for staying the course in Afghanistan. How easily consequence is becoming justification. How flattering it will be one day to reimagine it as original objective.
Samet has ensured her book has a predominantly US angle as well, for she ends her book with a chapter on the pseudohistorical Lost Cause of the Civil War. The legacy of the Civil War is still visible in the physical phenomena of Confederate statues, but it also exists in deep-rooted racial injustice that has been shrouded in euphemism and other psychological devices for over 150 years. Samet believes that a key part of what drives the American mythology about the Second World War is the way in which it subconsciously cleanses the horrors of brother-on-brother murder that were seen in the Civil War. This is a book that is not only of interest to historians of the Second World War; it is a work for anyone who wishes to understand almost any American historical event, social issue, politician or movie that has appeared since the end of WW2. That is for better or worse everyone on earth.

23 December 2022

Louis-Philippe V ronneau: 2022 A Musical Retrospective

With the end of the year approaching fast, I thought putting my year in retrospective via music would be a fun thing to do. Albums In 2022, I added 51 new albums to my collection nearly one a week! I listed them below in the order in which I acquired them. I purchased most of these albums when I could and borrowed the rest at libraries. If you want to browse though, I added links to the album covers pointing either to websites where you can buy them or to Discogs when digital copies weren't available1. Browsing through the albums, I can see my tastes really shifted a lot in the last few years. I used to listen to a lot of Hip-Hop, but the recent trends in this genre2 really turn me off. In fact, it seems I didn't add a single Hip-Hop album to my collection this year... Metal also continues to dominate the list. Many thanks to Angry Metal Guy for being the best metal reviewing website out there. Concerts 2022 was also a big change for me, as I started going to much more concerts than I previously did. metalfinder has been working great and I'm really happy with it. Here are the concerts I went to in 2022: I'm looking forward continuing to go to a lot of concerts in 2023!

  1. Some of the albums especially the O ! ones are pretty underground. For most of those, I actually have physical copies I bought and ripped.
  2. Mostly mumble rap, beats than are less and less sample-based, extreme commercialisation and lyrics that are less and less political and engaged.

12 November 2022

Debian Brasil: Participa o da comunidade Debian no Latinoware 2022

De 2 a 4 de novembro de 2022 aconteceu a 19 edi o do Latinoware - Congresso Latino-americano de Software Livre e Tecnologias Abertas, em Foz do Igua u. Ap s 2 anos acontecendo de forma online devido a pandemia do COVID-19, o evento voltou a ser presencial e sentimos que a comunidade Debian Brasil deveria estar presente. Nossa ltima participa o no Latinoware foi em 2016 A organiza o do Latinoware cedeu para a comunidade Debian Brasil um estande para que pud ssemos ter contato com as pessoas que visitavam a rea aberta de exposi es e assim divulgarmos o projeto Debian. Durante os 3 dias do evento, o estande foi organizado por mim (Paulo Henrique Santana) como Desenvolvedor Debian, e pelo Leonardo Rodrigues como contribuidor Debian. Infelizmente o Daniel Lenharo teve um imprevisto de ltima hora e n o pode ir para Foz do Igua u (sentimos sua falta l !). Latinoware 2022 estande 1 V rias pessoas visitaram o estande e aquelas mais iniciantes (principalmente estudantes) que n o conheciam o Debian, perguntavam do que se tratava o nosso grupo e a gente explicava v rios conceitos como o que Software Livre, distribui o GNU/Linux e o Debian propriamente dito. Tamb m recebemos pessoas da comunidade de Software Livre brasileira e de outros pa ses da Am rica Latina que j utilizavam uma distribui o GNU/Linux e claro, muitas pessoas que j utilizavam Debian. Tivemos algumas visitas especiais como do Jon maddog Hall, do Desenvolvedor Debian Emeritus Ot vio Salvador, do Desenvolvedor Debian Eriberto Mota, e dos Mantenedores Debian Guilherme de Paula Segundo e Paulo Kretcheu. Latinoware 2022 estande 4 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Leonardo, Paulo, Eriberto e Ot vio. Latinoware 2022 estande 5 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Paulo, Fabian (Argentina) e Leonardo. Al m de conversarmos bastante, distribu mos adesivos do Debian que foram produzidos alguns meses atr s com o patroc nio do Debian para serem distribu dos na DebConf22(e que haviam sobrado), e vendemos v rias camisetas do Debian produzidas pela comunidade Curitiba Livre. Latinoware 2022 estande 2 Latinoware 2022 estande 3 Tamb m tivemos 3 palestras inseridas na programa o oficial do Latinoware. Eu fiz as palestras: como tornar um(a) contribuidor(a) do Debian fazendo tradu es e como os SysAdmins de uma empresa global usam Debian . E o Leonardo fez a palestra: vantagens da telefonia Open Source nas empresas . Latinoware 2022 estande 6 Foto Paulo na palestra. Agradecemos a organiza o do Latinoware por receber mais uma vez a comunidade Debian e gentilmente ceder os espa os para a nossa participa o, e parabenizamos a todas as pessoas envolvidas na organiza o pelo sucesso desse importante evento para a nossa comunidade. Esperamos estar presentes novamente em 2023. Agracemos tamb m ao Jonathan Carter por aprovar o suporte financeiro do Debian para a nossa participa o no Latinoware. Vers o em ingl s

11 November 2022

Debian Brasil: Participa o da comunidade Debian no Latinoware 2022

De 2 a 4 de novembro de 2022 aconteceu a 19 edi o do Latinoware - Congresso Latino-americano de Software Livre e Tecnologias Abertas, em Foz do Igua u. Ap s 2 anos acontecendo de forma online devido a pandemia do COVID-19, o evento voltou a ser presencial e sentimos que a comunidade Debian Brasil deveria estar presente. Nossa ltima participa o no Latinoware foi em 2016 A organiza o do Latinoware cedeu para a comunidade Debian Brasil um estande para que pud ssemos ter contato com as pessoas que visitavam a rea aberta de exposi es e assim divulgarmos o projeto Debian. Durante os 3 dias do evento, o estande foi organizado por mim (Paulo Henrique Santana) como Desenvolvedor Debian, e pelo Leonardo Rodrigues como contribuidor Debian. Infelizmente o Daniel Lenharo teve um imprevisto de ltima hora e n o pode ir para Foz do Igua u (sentimos sua falta l !). Latinoware 2022 estande 1 V rias pessoas visitaram o estande e aquelas mais iniciantes (principalmente estudantes) que n o conheciam o Debian, perguntavam do que se tratava o nosso grupo e a gente explicava v rios conceitos como o que Software Livre, distribui o GNU/Linux e o Debian propriamente dito. Tamb m recebemos pessoas da comunidade de Software Livre brasileira e de outros pa ses da Am rica Latina que j utilizavam uma distribui o GNU/Linux e claro, muitas pessoas que j utilizavam Debian. Tivemos algumas visitas especiais como do Jon maddog Hall, do Desenvolvedor Debian Emeritus Ot vio Salvador, do Desenvolvedor Debian Eriberto Mota, e dos Mantenedores Debian Guilherme de Paula Segundo e Paulo Kretcheu. Latinoware 2022 estande 4 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Leonardo, Paulo, Eriberto e Ot vio. Latinoware 2022 estande 5 Foto da esquerda pra direita: Paulo, Fabian (Argentina) e Leonardo. Al m de conversarmos bastante, distribu mos adesivos do Debian que foram produzidos alguns meses atr s com o patroc nio do Debian para serem distribu dos na DebConf22(e que haviam sobrado), e vendemos v rias camisetas do Debian produzidas pela comunidade Curitiba Livre. Latinoware 2022 estande 2 Latinoware 2022 estande 3 Tamb m tivemos 3 palestras inseridas na programa o oficial do Latinoware. Eu fiz as palestras: como tornar um(a) contribuidor(a) do Debian fazendo tradu es e como os SysAdmins de uma empresa global usam Debian . E o Leonardo fez a palestra: vantagens da telefonia Open Source nas empresas . Latinoware 2022 estande 6 Foto Paulo na palestra. Agradecemos a organiza o do Latinoware por receber mais uma vez a comunidade Debian e gentilmente ceder os espa os para a nossa participa o, e parabenizamos a todas as pessoas envolvidas na organiza o pelo sucesso desse importante evento para a nossa comunidade. Esperamos estar presentes novamente em 2023. Agracemos tamb m ao Jonathan Carter por aprovar o suporte financeiro do Debian para a nossa participa o no Latinoware. Vers o em ingl s

1 November 2022

Jonathan Dowland: Halloween playlist 2022

I hope you had a nice Halloween! I've collected together some songs that I've enjoyed over the last couple of years that loosely fit a theme: ambient, instrumental, experimental, industrial, dark, disconcerting, etc. I've prepared a Spotify playlist of most of them, but not all. The list is inline below as well, with many (but not all) tracks linking to Bandcamp, if I could find them there. This is a bit late, sorry. If anyone listens to something here and has any feedback I'd love to hear it. (If you are reading this on an aggregation site, it's possible the embeds won't work. If so, click through to my main site) Spotify playlist:; The list, with Bandcamp embeds where possible: Some sources
  1. Via Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone
  2. Via Mary Anne Hobbs
  3. Via Lose yourself with
  4. Soma FM - Doomed (Halloween Special)

8 September 2022

Antoine Beaupr : Complaint about Canada's phone cartel

I have just filed a complaint with the CRTC about my phone provider's outrageous fees. This is a copy of the complaint.
I am traveling to Europe, specifically to Ireland, for a 6 days for a work meeting. I thought I could use my phone there. So I looked at my phone provider's services in Europe, and found the "Fido roaming" services: The fees, at the time of writing, at fifteen (15!) dollars PER DAY to get access to my regular phone service (not unlimited!!). If I do not use that "roaming" service, the fees are: That is absolutely outrageous. Any random phone plan in Europe will be cheaper than this, by at least one order of magnitude. Just to take any example: Those fine folks offer a one-time, prepaid plan for 15 for 28 days which includes: I think it's absolutely scandalous that telecommunications providers in Canada can charge so much money, especially since the most prohibitive fee (the "non-prepaid" plans) are automatically charged if I happen to forget to remove my sim card or put my phone in "airplane mode". As advised, I have called customer service at Fido for advice on how to handle this situation. They have confirmed those are the only plans available for travelers and could not accommodate me otherwise. I have notified them I was in the process of filing this complaint. I believe that Canada has become the technological dunce of the world, and I blame the CRTC for its lack of regulation in that matter. You should not allow those companies to grow into such a cartel that they can do such price-fixing as they wish. I haven't investigated Fido's competitors, but I will bet at least one of my hats that they do not offer better service. I attach a screenshot of the Fido page showing those outrageous fees.
I have no illusions about this having any effect. I thought of filing such a complain after the Rogers outage as well, but felt I had less of a standing there because I wasn't affected that much (e.g. I didn't have a life-threatening situation myself). This, however, was ridiculous and frustrating enough to trigger this outrage. We'll see how it goes...
"We will respond to you within 10 working days."

Response from CRTC They did respond within 10 days. Here is the full response:
Dear Antoine Beaupr : Thank you for contacting us about your mobile telephone international roaming service plan rates concern with Fido Solutions Inc. (Fido). In Canada, mobile telephone service is offered on a competitive basis. Therefore, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is not involved in Fido's terms of service (including international roaming service plan rates), billing and marketing practices, quality of service issues and customer relations. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to escalate your concern to a manager if you believe the answer you have received from Fido's customer service is not satisfactory. Based on the information that you have provided, this may also appear to be a Competition Bureau matter. The Competition Bureau is responsible for administering and enforcing the Competition Act, and deals with issues such as false or misleading representations, deceptive marketing practices and collusion. You can reach the Competition Bureau by calling 1-800-348-5358 (toll-free), by TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing people) by calling 1-866-694-8389 (toll-free). For more contact information, please visit When consumers are not satisfied with the service they are offered, we encourage them to compare the products and services of other providers in their area and look for a company that can better match their needs. The following tool helps to show choices of providers in your area: Thank you for sharing your concern with us.
In other words, complain with Fido, or change providers. Don't complain to us, we don't manage the telcos, they self-regulate. Great job, CRTC. This is going great. This is exactly why we're one of the most expensive countries on the planet for cell phone service.

Live chat with Fido Interestingly, the day after I received that response from the CRTC, I received this email from Fido, while traveling:
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 10:10:00 -0400 From: Fido To: REDACTED Subject: Courriel d avis d itin rance Fido Roaming Welcome Confirmation Fido Date : 13 septembre 2022
Num ro de compte : [redacted] Bonjour
Antoine Beaupr ! Nous vous crivons pour vous indiquer qu au moins un utilisateur inscrit votre compte s est r cemment connect un r seau en itin rance.
Vous trouverez ci-dessous le message texte de bienvenue en itin rance envoy l utilisateur (ou aux utilisateurs), qui contenait les tarifs d itin rance
applicables. Message texte de bienvenue en itin rance Destinataire : REDACTED Date et heure : 2022-09-13 / 10:10:00
Allo, ici Fido : Bienvenue destination! Vous tes inscrit Fido Nomade alors utilisez vos donn es, parlez et textez comme vous le faites la
maison. Depuis le 1 mars 2022 le tarif cette destination pour 15 $/jour (+ taxes) et valide tous les jours jusqu' 23 h 59 HE, peu importe le fuseau
horaire dans lequel vous vous trouvez. Bon voyage! Des questions? Consultez ou composez +15149333436 (sans frais). Besoin d aide?
    D couvrez nos options d itin rance et restez en contact l tranger sans vous soucier de votre
D tails
  • G rez votre compte
    G rez vos produits et services Fido la maison ou sur la route gr ce Mon
D tails Ce courriel est produit automatiquement; veuillez ne pas y r pondre. Ce courriel (et toute pi ce jointe) est confidentiel. Si vous n tes pas le destinataire,
veuillez supprimer le pr sent message et en d truire toute copie. FIDO SOLUTIONS 800, RUE DE LA GAUCHETI RE OUEST
I found that message utterly confusing (and yes, I can read french). Basically, it says that some user (presumably me!) connected to the network with roaming. I did just disabled airplane mode on my phone to debug a Syncthing bug but had not enabled roaming. So this message seemed to say that I would be charged 15$ (per DAY!) for roaming from now on. Confused, I tried their live chat to try to clarify things, worried I would get charged even more for calling tech support on *611. This is a transcript of the chat:
F: Hi! What are we doing today? Type in your question or choose from the options below: * Track my Equipment Order * View Bill Online * Payment Options * iPhone 14 Pre-Order A: i received a message about roaming while abroad but i did not enable roaming on my phone, will i be charged anyways? F: I think I know what you re asking for. Select the topic that best matches your request or try rephrasing your question. A: no F: Thank you, this will help us to improve! Would you like to chat with a specialist? Chat with a specialist I'll get a specialist to help you with this. It appears that you're not signed in. Your session may have timed out. To save time and identify your account details, please sign in to My Account.
  • Sign in
  • I'm not able to sign in
Have any questions specific to your Fido account? To service you faster, please identify yourself by completing the form below. A: Personal info Form submitted F: Thank you! I'll connect you with the next available specialist. Your chat is being transferred to a Live Chat agent. Thanks for your patience. We are here to assist you and we kindly ask that our team members be treated with respect and dignity. Please note that abuse directed towards any Consumer Care Specialist will not be tolerated and will result in the termination of your conversation with us. All of our agents are with other customers at the moment. Your chat is in a priority sequence and someone will be with you as soon as possible. Thanks! Thanks for continuing to hold. An agent will be with you as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued patience. We re getting more Live Chat requests than usual so it s taking longer to answer. Your chat is still in a priority sequence and will be answered as soon as an agent becomes available. Thank you so much for your patience we're sorry for the wait. Your chat is still in a priority sequence and will be answered as soon as possible. Hi, I'm [REDACTED] from Fido in [REDACTED]. May I have your name please? A: hi i am antoine, nice to meet you sorry to use the live chat, but it's not clear to me i can safely use my phone to call support, because i am in ireland and i'm worried i'll get charged for the call F: Thank You Antoine , I see you waited to speak with me today, thank you for your patience.Apart from having to wait, how are you today? A: i am good thank you
[... delay ...]
A: should i restate my question? F: Yes please what is the concern you have? A: i have received an email from fido saying i someone used my phone for roaming it's in french (which is fine), but that's the gist of it i am traveling to ireland for a week i do not want to use fido's services here... i have set the phon eto airplane mode for most of my time here F: The SMS just says what will be the charges if you used any services. A: but today i have mistakenly turned that off and did not turn on roaming well it's not a SMS, it's an email F: Yes take out the sim and keep it safe.Turun off or On for roaming you cant do it as it is part of plan. A: wat F: if you used any service you will be charged if you not used any service you will not be charged. A: you are saying i need to physically take the SIM out of the phone? i guess i will have a fun conversation with your management once i return from this trip not that i can do that now, given that, you know, i nee dto take the sim out of this phone fun times F: Yes that is better as most of the customer end up using some kind of service and get charged for roaming. A: well that is completely outrageous roaming is off on the phone i shouldn't get charged for roaming, since roaming is off on the phone i also don't get why i cannot be clearly told whether i will be charged or not the message i have received says i will be charged if i use the service and you seem to say i could accidentally do that easily can you tell me if i have indeed used service sthat will incur an extra charge? are incoming text messages free? F: I understand but it is on you if you used some data SMS or voice mail you can get charged as you used some services.And we cant check anything for now you have to wait for next bill. and incoming SMS are free rest all service comes under roaming. That is the reason I suggested take out the sim from phone and keep it safe or always keep the phone or airplane mode. A: okay can you confirm whether or not i can call fido by voice for support? i mean for free F: So use your Fido sim and call on +1-514-925-4590 on this number it will be free from out side Canada from Fido sim. A: that is quite counter-intuitive, but i guess i will trust you on that thank you, i think that will be all F: Perfect, Again, my name is [REDACTED] and it s been my pleasure to help you today. Thank you for being a part of the Fido family and have a great day! A: you too
So, in other words:
  1. they can't tell me if I've actually been roaming
  2. they can't tell me how much it's going to cost me
  3. I should remove the SIM card from my phone (!?) or turn on airplane mode, but the former is safer
  4. I can call Fido support, but not on the usual *611, and instead on that long-distance-looking phone number, and yes, that means turning off airplane mode and putting the SIM card in, which contradicts step 3
Also notice how the phone number from the live chat (+1-514-925-4590) is different than the one provided in the email (15149333436). So who knows what would have happened if I would have called the latter. The former is mentioned in their contact page. I guess the next step is to call Fido over the phone and talk to a manager, which is what the CRTC told me to do in the first place... I ended up talking with a manager (another 1h phone call) and they confirmed there is no other package available at Fido for this. At best they can provide me with a credit if I mistakenly use the roaming by accident to refund me, but that's it. The manager also confirmed that I cannot know if I have actually used any data before reading the bill, which is issued on the 15th of every month, but only available... three days later, at which point I'll be back home anyways. Fantastic.