Fortuitous Planning

A pipe burst yesterday. It’s in an unheated bonus room, so I started up my portable heater when it froze. The rest of the house was fine, so I soldiered on with my lazy Christmas Eve day. Then I noticed the water pressure in the house dropped. The pipe burst, and it was kind of unsurprising as there’s almost no insulation out there for the pipes.

The new whole house shutoff I had installed this year worked a treat, but it left me without flowing water, but …

I filled up my big bathtub last week before the cold snap hit. I happened to have been sous vide-ing some beef in a large container. I keep a 7-gallon water container filled. I always keep a pitcher of water in the fridge. And my humidifiers were all filled and misting my place into a decent humidity. Good planning and happenstance!

Then the utility announced rolling blackouts. The fire, with ample wood, was already going for heat and ambiance. I ended up “roughing it” in my house, making tacos with a big cast iron grille on the fire, and ready to read books with my well charged eInk reader in the dark. No blackout for me, thankfully, so I watched a bunch of non-Christmas Christmas movies.

The bottom line: a little bit of advanced planning paid dividends when things weren’t going right. nIt makes it so much easier to make it into an adventure instead of a disaster. Happy Holidays, y’all!

Tech sucks


Pluralistic: What the fediverse (does/n’t) solve (23 Dec 2022)🙁permalink)

No matter how benevolent a dictatorship is, it’s still a dictatorship, and subject to the dictator’s whims. We must demand that the owners and leaders of tech platforms be fair and good – but we must also be prepared for them to fail at this, sometimes catastrophically.

That is, even if you trust Tim Cook to decide what apps you are and aren’t allowed to install – including whether you are allowed to install apps that block Apple’s own extensive, nonconsensual, continuous commercial surveillance of its customers – you should also be prepared for Cook to get hit by a bus and replaced by some alt-right dingleberry.

In case you think Cory sides with Elon Musk, a wealthy, selfish, often cruel, weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can say or do whatever he wants, he doesn’t.

But, it takes Cory a long time to get to the fediverse:

The Fediverse’s foundation is a standard called ActivityPub, which was designed by weirdos who wanted to make a durably open, interoperable substrate that could support nearly any application. This was something that large corporations were both uninterested in building and which they arrogantly dismissed as a pipe dream. This means that Activitypub is actually as good as its architects could make it, free from boobytraps laid by scheming monopolists.

BTW, the use of terms like “weirdo” is, I think, meant in the best way – people outside of the accepted normal or willing to look outside of same.

Cory continues:

The perils of running your own Mastodon server have also become a hot topic of debate. To hear the critics warn of it, anyone who runs a server that’s open to the public is painting a huge target on their back and will shortly be buried under civil litigation and angry phone-calls from the FBI.

This is: Just. Not. True. The US actually has pretty good laws limiting intermediary liability (that is, the responsibility you bear for what your users do). You know all that stuff about how CDA230 is “a giveaway to Big Tech?” That’s only true if the internet consists solely of Big Tech companies. However, if you decide to spend $5/month hosting a Mastodon instance for you and your community, that same law protects you.

Indeed, while running a server that’s open to the public does involve some risk, most of that risk can be contained by engaging in a relatively small, relatively easy set of legal compliance practices, which EFF’s Corynne McSherry lays out in this very easy-to-grasp explainer:…

Finally, there’s the ongoing debate over whether Mastodon can (and should) replace Twitter. This week on the Canadaland Short Cuts podcast, Jesse Brown neatly summarized (and supported, alas) the incorrect idea that using Mastodon was no different from using Gab or Parler or Post.…

This is very, very wrong. The thing is, even if you like and trust the people who run Gab or Parler or Post, you face exactly the same risk you face with Twitter or Facebook: that the leadership will change, or have a change of heart, and begin to enshittify your community there. When they do, your only remedy will be the one that Valente describes, to scatter to the winds and try and reform your community somewhere else.

But that’s not true of the Fediverse. On Mastodon, you can export all your followers, and all the people who follow you, with two clicks. Then you can create an account on another server and again, with just two clicks, you can import those follows and followers and be back up and running, your community intact, without being under the thumb of the server manager who decided to sell your community down the river (you can also export the posts you made).…

For me, and I kind of thank Elon Musk, a wealthy, selfish, often cruel, weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can say or do whatever he wants, for this realization, is:

They’re not that smart. By “they” I mean Space Karen and Thiel and Jobs and the Oracle guy and Gates and whomever. They and those like them did something, maybe, that made a difference. Some, like Space Karen, marketed themselves instead. They all ended up where they are because they convinced people that what they were selling was the best.

Remember: the audio player and smart phone existed before Jobs moved Apple there; Space Karen bought into and then took over Tesla and SpaceX, and so on.

A Song That Makes Me Cry

Well made music stirs emotion. Music can encompass or traverse genre. Emotion? Maybe it is patriotic. Maybe it’s passionate. Maybe it’s funny. Maybe it’s emo and shoe gaze-y. Maybe it’s a lot of things and you can’t quite figure it out because you’re too busy being emotional because of that well made music.

My Achilles’ Heel, musically, is Chumbawamba’s 1997 irritatingly hopeful and delightfully disjointed British pub anthem, Tubthumping. It makes me want to cry every time I hear it. I used to actually cry every time I heard it. Why?

Part of my emotional release is right there in the chorus for all to hear — I get knocked down / but I get up again / y’ain’t never gonna keep me down — over and over again, Sisyphean in its repetition, and significant.

I did that, taking the knock down and getting up again, but not always in a healthy way for me. I made poor decisions based on false equivalence and self sacrifice for things not quite hope shaped. There’s a fatalism there, too, that I tend toward.

The other part my emotional release is in a lyrical bit — Don’t cry for me next door neighbor.

I do not understand why that bit gets me like it does. I expect it’s because I want my emotional process — illness or depression or whatnot — to be mine and not have someone close to me weigh in because that’s how I do it (for better and worse). Granted, in such a case the closeness would be geographical. I further expect I also didn’t want pity, but to have someone to whom I’m only geographically close to expel tears on my behalf would be too much.

Songs that people think should trigger an emotional response? Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle”, Elton John’s “Rocketman”, maybe the gawdawful “American Pie” by Don McLean. None of those rank in my book.

Throw a “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot at me, a song about sacrifice and circumstance, and we can talk about a tear jerking song.

Length ≠ Depth

I’ve never liked Twitter threads.

If one wants to write a longer piece, there are better ways than to make readers either navigate around interstitial comments or use a 3rd party service — old school web posts immediately leap to mind.

Also, reading longer pieces on Twitter was never good. They were in a narrow space meant for 140 characters. The expansion to 280 characters felt wedged in when read in Twitter’s tools.

If EMu is genuine in taking Twitter to 4000 characters, then welcome to a web product you likely abandoned. I will not join you.

※ Two Weeks Later and Twitter Is Still Up

Two Weeks Later and Twitter Is Still Up:

In the immediate aftermath of Twitter’s mass layoffs and subsequent resignations, there were widespread reports that the staffing situation and collective brain drain were so dire that the site would collapse. Two weeks later — with World Cup soccer drama fueling record usage — such concerns seem to have been overblown.

At what point would a Twitter failure make Gruber’s statement overblown? 2 weeks + 3 days? 4 weeks? Could it be Twitter’s infrastructure had been well run and resilient recently enough that it could handle a predicted spike in traffic?

Let’s remember the value of Twitter isn’t Twitter; it’s the thousands of people who ran it and the millions who shared their content on the platform. Stand or fall, Twitter is less than it was. And for a lot of people, there’s not a good replacement.

The World Cup is only half over. Let’s check back in another two weeks.

But while fears of technical collapse seem to have been overblown, Twitter’s advertising collapse is seemingly continuing unabated.

The advertising revenue, that’s what we should all care about. Never mind the gross mismanagement by Elon Musk, a selfish, often cruel, child of wealth weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can do whatever he wants. And he wants to put chips in human brains.

※ Japan Is The Best Kind Of World Cup Killer

Japan Is The Best Kind Of World Cup Killer:

Japan held two teams’ fates in its hands coming into Thursday’s final round of Group E matches in the World Cup. Sort of funnily, neither of them was its opponent on the day, Spain.

The match day set up like this: Japan entered the day second in the group, with three points, thanks to its shock win over Germany on the group’s first match day. Spain led the group with four points, and with passage through to the round of 16 all but guaranteed by its plus-6 goal differential. Costa Rica’s third-place position felt like last place, owing to a horrible goal differential and the safe assumption that Los Ticos‘ opponents on the day, Germany, would flatten them; Germany’s fourth-place position felt like second, despite the team coming into the day on a single lonely point, at least in large part because it is Germany.

Which part of Japan in the World Cup are you not on board with, assuming you’re not? They play a fast match, their fans clean up after themselves in the stands, and they leave thoughtful things in their locker room after the match for the folks who clean them.

I was in Japan for the last World Cup. They took me from 0 interest in futbol to 100 fast. It was great and I love it and I miss it.

I’m not there, but I’m here and have a soul. Strap me to the Japan World Cup rocket!

※ This Hidden Facebook Tool Lets Users Remove Their Email or Phone Number Shared by Others

This Hidden Facebook Tool Lets Users Remove Their Email or Phone Number Shared by Others:

Facebook appears to have silently rolled out a tool that allows users to remove their contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, uploaded by others.

The existence of the tool, which is buried inside a Help Center page about “Friending,” was first reported by Business Insider last week. It’s offered as a way for “Non-users” to “exercise their rights under applicable laws.”

In case you missed this on the first go round, this is a REALLY useful option that should always have existed and should be easier to find. I’ve never liked how others could share your information without your approval.

※ “Claim your account”

“Claim your account”:

“Post dot news”, the Andreessen-funded probable cryptocurrency grift masquerading as a social network that I

busted on yesterday

(and that considers dunking on billionaires to be hate speech) is creating fake “placeholder” accounts to try and get their users to bully news organizations into signing up.

This is the kind of shit that Yelp regularly does.

Hey, remember in 2020 when Yelp decided to non-consensually funnel more business to their partner Gofundme by creating a “fundraiser” for your business whether you wanted one or not?

SF Bar Owner to Yelp: “Fuck All of These People Entirely”.

Hey, remember my 2012 long-form art project entitled, “I would like my business to not be listed on Yelp”? Part 1, Part 2.

Good times, good times.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.