reddragdiva: (geek)

The thing that really struck me about Hugo vote-stackers the Sad Puppies was founder Brad Torgersen’s lament that he could no longer tell from the cover of a science fiction novel what it was about. So I wrote a rant on Tumblr and just put a more polished version up on Rocknerd and it's quite popular. Intro:

I won’t try to explain the entire saga of the Sad Puppies and their Rabid Puppies offshoot. But in short, a bunch of reactionary science fiction authors were upset that people other than white straight guys were getting their stories noticed, so started a backlash to take over the Hugo Awards through slate voting, and made stupendous dicks of themselves.

If anyone knows where would be appropriate on Reddit, please post this there, let's give the 32GB server a good old workout. It survived a Scalzi-dotting after all.

I also have a Castalia House review on Eruditorium Press tomorrow, which was way too much fun to write (in a "here, look what I just stepped in" sort of way).

reddragdiva: (rocknerd)

I've been posting almost-daily to Rocknerd of late (I missed one day in each of June and July). And I have a new theme, which looks nice!

So if you haven't been around in a while, go back through about the last three front pages. It's great fun. I feel like I'm writing a fanzine again.

There's also a box on the right-hand side of the page where you can get an email for every update. And/or there's [ profile] rocknerd_rss on LiveJournal. (I thought there was one on Dreamwidth but I can't find it. edit: [syndicated profile] rocknerd_feed)

reddragdiva: (geek)

Yet another in the series "stuff I'm blogging so future poor buggers can find it in Google."

If you've seen this supercilious and not actually helpful error from ant:

Cause: Could not load a dependent class com/jcraft/jsch/Logger
It is not enough to have Ant's optional JARs
you need the JAR files that the optional tasks depend upon.
Ant's optional task dependencies are listed in the manual.
Action: Determine what extra JAR files are needed, and place them in one of:
-a directory added on the command line with the -lib argument
Do not panic, this is a common problem.
The commonest cause is a missing JAR.
This is not a bug; it is a configuration problem

— it is a bloody bug, and it's a bug in Ubuntu that hasn't been fixed in years.

  1. Install the relevant packages: sudo apt-get install ant-optional libjsch-java
  2. The symlink to make it work! sudo ln -s /usr/share/java/jsch.jar /usr/share/ant/lib/

The bug is that it should make that symlink. (The other bug is that ant-optional should have libjsch-java as a dependency and doesn't.)

reddragdiva: (flame war)

I've spent the last six months editing a book. Phil Sandifer found himself writing about "A genre dominated by, in effect, an AI crank, an extremist technolibertarian, and whatever the fuck Nick Land is" and I begged to preview it. I ended up researching, editing, copyediting and helping with the publicity. It has been six months of solid and hearty yuks and lulz and a sheer delight.

The kickstarter is up now (announcement). So far it's landed about $1500 in twelve hours; people seem quite keen to get this book. And let me assure you that the stretch goal essays are also things the world needs.

There are also excerpts ([0] [1] [2]) and images of what the conspiracy zine and full colour editions will look like. (If I had $70 of actual money spare I’d be sending it in to get the conspiracy zine and color editions, which look to be gorgeous productions.)

“Or, to put it another way, this is a book that uses Eliezer Yudkowsky, Mencius Moldbug, and Nick Land as a loosely stitched together foundation on which to build an oddball philosophical structure made of bits of Hannibal, China Mieville, Alan Turing, Thomas Ligotti, John Milton, and a futuristic AI that will torture you for all eternity if you buy a mosquito net.”

edit: and at $3000 in the first 18 hours, Phil decided he'd better preview the $4000 essay, "The Blind All-Seeing Eye of Gamergate."

reddragdiva: (geek)

installing and setting up xubuntu 16.04. why the hell does vim-gtk have apache2 as a “suggested package”.

to make capslock a control key, run /usr/bin/setxkbmap -option "ctrl:nocaps" from Session and Startup->Application Autostart, and fuck you xubuntu for still not including an interface for this basic x11 config shit. you’re darned lucky you haven’t comprehensively sodomised the pooch like gnome or kde.

(i'd be running xfce debian if it wasn't as bloody ugly as sin and mint if they'd ever heard of security.)

how the fuck do you set preferences for nautilus when you’re not actually running gnome. edit: the answer: gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-folder-viewer 'list-view'

reddragdiva: (geek)

(posting this here so future generations can Google for it)

My work Lenovo X230 has been overheating and abruptly shutting down a bit of late. This creates problems if I'm running e.g a long compile from source. When I start again I may get an error like:

/home/fun/libreoffice/workdir/CxxObject/sd/source/filter/eppt/escherex.o: file not recognised: File truncated

If you get the errors file not recognised: File truncated or file not recognized: File truncated when compiling something from source, it means there was a crash during compilation and a damaged .o file was written that the linker is not happy about.

FIRST STEP: delete the offending .o file, make again.

SECOND STEP: if this doesn't work, the offending .o file was cached somewhere. Remove the file (again), clear the cache, then try again. If it stops at a different offending .o file, remove that file (or just make clean to remove the lot), clear cache and make again.

In my case it's LibreOffice, so of course I'm using ccache as they recommend. So enter: ccache -C to trash the cache and start again from scratch.

reddragdiva: (geek)

My most and least favourite system that I have ever had to administer involved an embedded copy of (originally a Solaris SPARC binary of 3.1, later the Ubuntu 10.04 package of 3.2), started from a cgi-bin Perl script as needed, to convert MS Word .doc files to PDFs.

This is because MS Word .doc is such an utter shower (specification PDF, 563 pages) that it takes something approximately the size and complexity of MS Office to deal with it. And OOo is certainly that.

(We thankfully talked them out of making us install embedded MS Office instead, by offering to charge them the cost of a Windows sysadmin to run it. Never say no!)

The .doc files were end users’ edited versions of deeply defective source .rtf files generated from XML and XSLT by Apache FrontOffice, that wouldn’t open properly in anything else but MS Word. I wish I still had some, they’d be great bug fodder to submit to LibreOffice.

Even though this system was released in 2009, it never did manage to cope with MS Word 2007 .docx files.

It also kept said .doc files in a Subversion repo. Which was not operated using svn binaries, but twiddled by the relevant Java libs.

The cgi-bin Perl script was because the “generate PDF” functionality required a process fork, which hit a bug in Solaris SPARC Java 5 and 6 that tried to make a copy of the entire Tomcat process in physical RAM, which of course ran out of memory and failed. OOo won’t run if the user’s home directory isn’t writable, so on Ubuntu this required “sudo chown www-data /var/www“. Thankfully we weren’t using that as the webroot.

When I asked the (very good) senior developer about these design decisions, the pained expression on his face as he detailed why all these terrible ideas were the least-worst options was quite exquisite.

The purpose of a specification is to nail down the vague hopes and dreams of the business unit that’s just seen a fat, juicy market opportunity. In this case, they wanted a magical flying unicorn pony that ejaculated rainbows. The spec went into quite some detail about the desired properties of the wing feathers.

What they ended up with, of course, was a retired seaside donkey that had been tarred and feathered, a cornetto stuck on its head and fed food colouring and laxatives.

One part of the original specification of the system was to take updated versions of the source .rtf files and merge them with the user’s free-form .doc files such that the end users’ annotations would be preserved and stay correct. That is, the spec implicitly required the implementation of strong artificial intelligence. We told them that bit would have to be implemented later.

I quite delighted in deleting all traces of that system personally when, after five years’ soaking up money for two institutional customers ever, it was finally decommissioned.

reddragdiva: (post punk)

i am about to be mean and ranty. please look away if these books are special to you, i have unresolved literary trauma to work through.

Read more... )

reddragdiva: (rocknerd)

a tumblr querent asks:

the question of why there haven't been any sociological studies of tumblr social justice culture is a good question- and why hasn't there been a news report on like, tumblr communists as a subculture? you'd think at least fox news would have something to say about that.

over on this post, someone notes “Sociology as a discipline is still reeling after so many fine sociologists disappeared in to Second Life and have yet to emerge.“

really they were a plague in the early ‘90s.

this was just before nirvana hit big. it was blindingly obvious to everyone in indie rock that someone was going to hit super-big at some point. will it be sonic youth! they got a major deal! … and no, goo sold pretty well but not spectacularly. will it be mudhoney! … no, they did two great singles and a good cover and the rest was uh okay. … nirvana? the ones who did that crappy album bleach? how the hell did they get good. wow.

(i remember the first time i heard “smells like teen spirit” in early 1992. i was in a pub beer garden discussing a prospective road trip with friends. [if anyone reading this has a copy of The Good Fight #1, please send me a copy of my bit, which writes up the story.] it came on the radio, which was the local AM chart station. my first thought was “oh, the pixies scored a mainstream hit? well done, pixies.”)

so it was a scene that (a) knew important stuff was brewing (b) was obsessively introspective with a ton of discourse. i mean, i was a ziner. it was very very slow moving tumblr. so we really really wanted to TELL THE WORLD ABOUT OUR STUFF.

enter sociology students desperate for material. which they then made a fucking hash of.

i think we were hoping for Proper Academic commentary that would tell us interesting and useful stuff about ourselves. instead we were fodder for terrible useless rubbish that was created to be written and not under any circumstances read.

(open source software got the same treatment, for a parallel. parasitical publication-credit churns like First Monday. everyone was so hoping for something useful to the discourse that was already going on, not intelligence-insulting inanity that didn’t understand the first thing of what it was talking about and didn’t care.)

after a couple of those i started grilling them when they called and saying i wouldn’t help unless it was helpful to the existing zine world discourse. or at least not inane bullshit. (i forget my precise wording.)

what sociologists i encounter these days seem much better-behaved, probably because they realise their subjects can and will in fact talk about them afterwards. there’s some awesomeness out there. i recommend paul hodkinson, who got his ph.d thesis on goth published as a really very good book that continues to sell okay, a.k.a. stupendously well for a ph.d thesis. is also a top bloke. of course, he knew very well all his friends were going to read it with an acerbic eye.

for news, um i suppose we have breitbart still trying to make gamergate a thing

reddragdiva: (geek)


“it’s dead dave”


“everything dave”


“everything’s dead dave”


“they’re all dead, everything’s dead dave”


"Gordon Bennet, yes the file shares, everything, everything’s dead dave. everything’s dead, everything is dead dave”


reddragdiva: (Wikipedia)

the nascent rationalwiki article on the term “social justice warrior” is going great. main thing it needs is firmer detail on the earliest coinage of the term.

the earliest pejorative usage we can find (and knowyourmeme concurs) is will shetterly’s blog tone-policing “social justice warriors” versus “social justice activists”.

in the sort of “5 minutes with google” research sk1llz that will one day have us up there with cracked, i found earlier usages from 2007 and 2008, proudly applying the term to people who worked hard to make the world a somewhat better place.

so what i’m really after:

  1. any earlier pejorative usages;
  2. any earlier non-pejorative usages.

your assistance would be most welcomed.

the oxford english dictionary’s quick definition site, btw, appears to have been infiltrated by the socjus menace: their definition is simply “A person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views”, but one of their example sentences is “Some of them admit they’re afraid that social justice warriors will ruin video games.”

(also, why can’t my terrible research skills find any sociologists talking about tumblr sjws. back in the ‘90s, sociologists and students seemed desperate to find anything resembling a subculture to write about. i ran a fanzine and was fending off calls regularly.)

please forward this anywhere you think would be helpful.

reddragdiva: (domesticity)

that's literally the official name of a new public holiday in victoria.

i used to live here, about 500 metres from the mcg. every friday night, saturday (twice) and sunday (twice) in winter, people desperate for parking for the footy would literally park in the middle of the street just ‘cos they could, and never mind anyone who e.g. lived there and had a car.

i became an ardent non-fan of football that year (1999), and also city of yarra traffic wardens became my greatest heroes. i’d call and encourage them to come over for rich pickings. at the time parking fines were something like 20% of the city of yarra’s income, and it couldn’t have come from more deserving targets.

i slightly miss many of my past houses, but not that one ‘cos it was a fucking dump and so was that bit of richmond in general. it was cheap because it was scheduled for demolition just as soon as (unspecified shonky financial shenanigans). i think it was still there when i left melbourne in 2002. otoh, we rented the third bedroom to friends for their serious-level SCA costume-making and antique sewing machine. (they lived 75m away on punt road in a teeny flat.) we literally had a robot housemate that never ate, spoke or left its room but paid rent. that bit was perfect.

though that is an awesomely ‘strayan official title for a holiday.

and in conclusion, fuck football. and traffic wardens are great and you should give one a smile today.

reddragdiva: (stress relief)

[personal profile] arkady was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia (as well as ehlers-danlos). which is shitty, but otoh  the diagnosis does explain a lot. so they hopped onto facebook to find a support group, 'cos having people who understand is always nice.

well, almost always. the canonical UK group on the subject ("UK Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" - obviously that's the group to try first, right?) is, apart from the relentless negativity ... beyond the woo event horizon.

another fibro-suffering friend noped out of there on a nope-rocket when someone recommended the sure-fire fibro symptom cure of ... a red onion on the sole of the foot every night, to pull out "toxins" and "negative energies".


(a brown onion, of course, has danger of inducing tony abbott. otoh, just think how sporty you'll look in a speedo.)

this particular woo actually has a history (and i or someone need to write up a rationalwiki article, and more on woo fibro cures in general). this is the same principle as those bogus "foot detox" patches that do nothing.

one guy from one of the unofficial rw facebook groups (not the official page) had someone do the onion-in-the-sock trick in response to a woo page (”Raw Food Institute”) promoting it. result: you'll be amazed to know it doesn't work, just makes you smell of onion.

apparently the onion trick is big on too.

as one non-woo fibro sufferer commented on a’s fb: "My search for a cure from this pain draws the line at applying condiments to my body."

reddragdiva: (geek)

ahmed mohamed seems to be hitting the way cool points, which is great.

(neither of us are brown, though [personal profile] arkady's sister is muslim. that counts, right?)

i remember when i brought electronics to school when i was 12. i worried people would think the electronic things were girly. this was an actual worry i had in my head.

(everyone ended up thinking it was way cool and i got some of the other guys into electronics too. this was 1979, back when dick smith was run by dick smith.)

arkady did this as well at age 13, but the school was worried a’s electronics would blow up. this is because a designed them as part of something intended to blow up: a timing circuit for detonating nitroglycerin. a had previously made nitroglycerin, at school at age 12 1/2, after watching a TV show about how to make nitroglycerin as a step to making dynamite, which was the aim at the time. the chem lab had nitric acid, so a made nitroglycerin. took 4kg of fuller’s earth to make it into dynamite to school! a made the nitroglycerin. teacher worked out what a had made, and called the bomb disposal squad to dispose of the, er, two pints of nitroglycerin a had made in the school chemistry lab. the nitroglycerin was taken out to the playing field and the school got a new long jump pit. a didn’t realise till later (a) just how much trouble they’d caused the school (b) that they were quite possibly personally responsible for uk school kids not having access to actual nitric acid.

i assume nobody wonders why i married this person.

reddragdiva: (Default)
  • who?
  • oh, it’s [name2], they changed their lj name some time in the past 15 years
  • no hold on, let’s work out who it is from their friends list
  • erm ok, let’s see if we can work it out from their icons
  • oh, it’s actually [name3]
  • ok, when did they last post ... 2008
  • let’s look them up on facebook
  • argh don’t remember their tax name
  • when did i last post anything to lj/dreamwidth
  • (finds tumblr effortpost to repurpose as dreamwidth post, which automatically crossposts to livejournal)
  • (reloads tumblr dash)
reddragdiva: (domesticity)

so our drain outside was blocked and causing a minor flood in the back yard. this happens a lot. the drains in this house are crappy anyway, but since we’ve had the husky it’s generally been because she’s taken the grate off - she considers it simply incorrect to have the grate there or something - and then dropped a destroyed tennis ball into it.

but the grate was in place. so maybe it was an excess of dog hair from her weekly bath. or maybe it was just being crappy again. or something.

finally [personal profile] arkady went out to investigate with the draining rods.

alba had removed the grate, dropped a destroyed tennis ball in, then put the grate back. so er she’s tidying up after herself. good?

i’m now imagining a future civilisation formed by a species evolved from huskies. crack-addled mechanics, communicating in a language whose atoms are bouncing and yapping.

reddragdiva: (gosh!)

in which someone literally posits that the root cause of tumblr social justice warriors turns out to be ... an obscure and short-lived somethingawful forum that neither you nor any sjw you’ve ever met in your life has ever heard of nor would care about. a subforum for ron paul fans, no less (the “laissez faire” forum). somehow, ron paul fans literally caused tumblr sjws.

this is the internet equivalent of explaining your loss of absolute cultural hegemony to yourself by concocting a conspiracy theory called cultural marxism that you trace back to a bunch of obscure and forgettable academics called the frankfurt school. though of course it was those darn jews all along!

(curiously unexplained: the beatles.)

the attraction of this sort of claim is that if an utterly unknown political subforum on the internet can bring about such sweeping cultural change, then he has hope that his own mra gamergatey outpost of the dark enlightenment could one day hit the big time. i don’t buy it myself.

sa is the quintessence of sneer culture, but treating it as the unknowable protean bogeyman final boss of the internet that is the ultimate source of every bad thing and its opposite bad thing may not constitute a good source of workable social theories.

reddragdiva: (flame war)

well, the sad/rabid puppies blew their dicks off. so let's float a totally different proposal to achieve much the same result: come on down, jay maynard! he proposes a “web of trust” that would start with oooh people like himself and might even extend as far as unpatriotic poltroons like john scalzi and david gerrold.

the comments on this are amazing. ctrl-f for “scalzi” or “sjw” for examples, or just any of jay’s explanations of his great idea.

(this appears to be the rumour grrm heard about a few days ago.)

john scalzi tells him to go fuck himself in detail. more in the comments on that one.

reddragdiva: (flame war)

A plump, curly-haired woman took a step out from the others. Her round face was red with anger as she screamed. "Stop the hate! No war! Stop the hate! No war!"

"Move or die!" Richard yelled as he picked up speed.

The red-faced woman shook her fleshy fist at Richard and his men, leading an angry chant. "Murderers! Murderers! Murderers!"

On his way past her, gritting his teeth as he screamed with the fury of the attack begun, Richard took a powerful swing, lopping off the woman's head and upraised arm. Strings of blood and gore splashed across the faces behind her even as some still chanted their empty words. The head and loose arm tumbled through the crowd. A man mad the mistake of reaching for Richard's weapon, and took the full weight of a charging thrust.

Men behind Richard hit the line of evil's guardians with unrestrained violence. People armed only with their hatred for moral clarity fell bloodied, terribly injured, and dead. The line of people collapsed before the merciless charge. Some of the people, screaming their contempt, used their fists to attack Richard's men. They were met with swift and deadly steel.

so for the first time in my life i just read some text written by terry goodkind.

emphasis mine, but the whole excerpt is great. no, context doesn’t improve it.

reddragdiva: (geek)

you know OpenOffice, right? free substitute for Microsoft Office which is basically just as good, but free.

well, it's not as good. and is in fact actively dangerous to use.

the security hole: HWP files can be exploited and pwn your PC. obscure minor format, no problem ... except that if you get a HWP file with a .DOC extension - say, what appears to be a MS Word file emailed you by anyone - you can get pwned by that.

they've known about this since april 2015 and haven't fixed it. they have distributed over 8 million known-vulnerable copies of AOO since 27 april. (and the 143 million vulnerable before that.)

the fix is, literally, remove one file from the installer. they haven't got it together to do this in five months.

tell everyone you know. tell your writer friends. tell anyone you see running OpenOffice. get LibreOffice, it also originated in OpenOffice but is actually developed and they show the slightest sign of caring about their end users. LO 5.0 is really very nice. much faster to use than 4.4 too.

so what's going on here:

  • Sun Microsystems (mild yay) ran OpenOffice from 2000 to 2010. it was imperfect, but it was good enough and free and open-source. it accumulated one heck of a famous brand name. (“we need an office program” “how about that openoffice thing”)
  • Oracle (boo hiss!) bought Sun in early 2010. OpenOffice development stopped as they reassigned developers.
  • a bunch of non-Sun/Oracle developers went "bugger this" and forked it ('cos it was open source) in late 2010. thus, LibreOffice, which immediately became stupidly better.
  • Oracle had a snit and shoved the corpse of OpenOffice at the Apache Foundation in mid-2011 at the behest of IBM, who wanted to do it their way.
  • Apache OpenOffice had nothing worth the trouble, but got downloads because of the famous "OpenOffice" brand name.
  • IBM gave up in late 2013. since then, AOO has literally been sixteen ex-Sun devs squatting the name and doing bugger-all with it. their reasons are unclear.
  • they insist they still have a product, even though what they've actually achieved has been to put over eight million downloads that they knew were vulnerable on people's PCs. possibly your PC.
  • instead of fixing it, by removing one file from the installer, they post excuses for not doing stuff.

(if this sounds like a fascinating tale, feel free to check the extensively-cited history sections of the, LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice articles on wikipedia, which i mostly researched and wrote.)

Apache OpenOffice's lack of developers since IBM gave up is extensively documented. many have expressed concerns over the BLATANT SECURITY HOLE. in late august a Red Hat developer posted an open letter urging them to just give up the pretense and redirect the end users (that's you) to LibreOffice. this had wide impact, and quite a pile of others concurred that they need to stop making life actively worse for the end users. the AOO people posted numerous comments making excuses ... but they still distribute their known dangerous software and just won't lift a finger to fix it.

tl;dr: get the hell off OpenOffice, get everyone you know the hell off OpenOffice. get LibreOffice, it is strictly superior in literally every dimension, and they actually give a damn about you the user and fix the security holes.

this text is CC-0 public domain. please spread far and wide.