Functional Entropy

Chaos breeds order, sort of.

Category: Link Dumps

Things That Happened And Didn’t

It’s been busy time for me lately and my mind has also been focused on things that are really terribly interesting to talk about here since they involve people you don’t know, inside jokes, and other things that are likely more well received on Facebook or something. Unless you’d be interested in hearing about a camping trip where we brought a whole carload of stuff that unfortunately did not include the tent we intended to sleep in. Oscar was understandably furious with all parties involved in the tent debacle.

I flaked on finishing this post for a week so there are some links that need to be dumped here as well so I’ve just added them as list items. Creating a new post would probably work better than just smashing them together. Embrace my word salad. Or don’t.


  1. New amp. Because I am a fool with (a little bit of) money and I’ve been unhappy with my Hovercraft for reasons that are too tedious to explain here but boil down to unreliability, I ordered a new head. For me, research for this sort of purchase which also dictates what amp I’m going to be playing for a bunch of years or go through the incredibly annoying process of selling an amp and then buying another. The process isn’t as much irritating as it is nerve wracking especially since you’ve basically got to depend on YouTube demos and people’s (obviously) subjective opinion to get an idea of what you’re buying actually sounds like. So, I picked the Science Decolonizer after hearing one setup in exactly the same way and reading up on other folks’ experiences with his amps. It roars like the world is coming to an end and also cleans up very nicely which is exactly the kind of versatility I desperately want. The deal sealer is that Alex is insanely quick to respond to questions, really knows his stuff, and actually tried to downsell me on a feature that he thought might not be particularly useful to me. I’m hoping, with a pile of evidence to back this up, that this amp will keep me happy for another decade without blowing up or melting down.
  2. Job blase. I’ve basically been doing the same job with a few differing variables for the last ten years with a few dabbling jaunts into system administration. Desktop support is still in my job title, but I get paid a lot more and am generally less susceptible to drive bys and ‘I don’t understand how this Excel feature works’ harassment. In general, I’m not overloaded and most of the stuff that I’m asked to do, even the larger project work, is pretty easy to figure out. I’m just bored and the boredom is making me lazy which makes the work seem like work again. I can understand how anyone reading this would fail to feel any empathy at all with this situation and the awareness of that and my own stupid entitlement fills me with even more ennui. I’m bored at work just like every other person in the United States. Wah.
  3. Unsurprisingly Debian dropped Sparc support. I’m sad not because I have any hardware that has that architecture involved in it, but because those old Sun workstations were so much more exciting than anything on the market these days. Given the market superiority of thoroughly bland Apple product, I don’t know what people would make of pre-Oracle Sun hardware now.
  4. As much as my income is tied to my efficiency at unfucking outrageously broken Windows laptops and servers, I’m thinking that [the Microsoft supplied tool to hide Windows 10 from Windows Update] is going to get packaged up and rolled out over the next couple of days. I’ve suffered through far too many day one upgrades at user discretion and I can’t say that I’m particularly excited about that happening again. I don’t think Windows 10 is going to be a complete pass at my workplace which I have absolutely no feelings about. I tried to install a beta release in a Virtualbox environment and it would never finish installing. No big deal.

Some Things I Like Right Now

  1. The Awl. The Awl is what I secretly want all writing on the internet to resemble. It seems totally undiluted and like no one is counting down their words to make sure it fits into an allocated space that it was written to occupy. I'm fairly old in terms of internet age so I remember when there was a lot more of this kind of writing to be found via Netscape 4 and I'm not just talking about GeoCities or whatever. comes to mind immediately. Writing that isn't broken into bullet points is soothing after reading so many quizzes and vague statements uttered entirely in memes. This may or not be writing for the graybeards, but I'm enjoying the shit out of it.
  2. Fresh News. Fresh News has been a constant in my bookmarks (ha ha, there's an app for that now) since the early 2000's without any huge change in format or freemium strapons. They did add a bunch of feeds so my visits over the years actually increased rather than dropped off. It loads quickly and just shares the good news friends. More things should work this way; do a single job well for a number of different sources. Unfortunately, everyone starts this way to some degree then gets the idea that they need to lardbomb everything to create more mass appeal. I dislike mass appeal especially when it fails on both sides of the equation. FN does and did it right. Thanks.
  3. Kingdom of Loathing. Years ago when I first encountered KoL I thought it was hilarious and delivered all the right jabs to all the right companies/games. The other super cool part that others never quite seem to get is that games should also be fun to actually play (actually better when the goofiness is incorporated directly into the gameplay) even when it's played entirely in the browser and uses stick figures for all of its graphics. It's silly without being stupid (this is another goal that should be taught at entrepreneur finishing school as well) and continuously expands. They accept donations, but don't demand them by withholding anything vital from the game itself.
  4. These vegan veggie burgers I keep buying from Target. I have no idea what the actual brand name is so no link action, but throw these on the grill and they may or may not fool any of my omnivore friends. My decidedly non-vegan kid will gladly eat one of these and that's a good thing because a vegan is in charge of the grill. At the Target near my house they store these things in the refrigerated section where you'd normally look for salad in a bag. I have no idea how they'd work with a paleo diet or a gluten-free diet mainly because one of those things is stupid and the other is hypochondria. You can pick which is which.

Tired Guy Dumps Links

I spent most of the last week solo parenting and decided that most of what I'd written during the course of the week (and didn't post) was primarily garbage. Sleep deprivation isn't the inspirational force of nature that it used to be for me so most of what came out was gibberish. The kid likes to delay bedtime as late as possible and wake up the moment that sunlight pierces the horizon. I think he runs on some alternative power source that I don't understand. I'm going to dump some links instead:

I'm unsure of my confidence in Ubuntu's new package management scheme. If they're truly going to break with the Debian repos, then I'm a little less concerned. I have a feeling that this is part of a Canonical marketing push to make Ubuntu a little more appealing for virtualization. Since I don't have to touch Ubuntu anything on a regular basis I'll probably have to fire up a VM of my own in order to check it out once it's post-dog food. A lot of the promises made are insanely difficult to actually deliver, but smaller updates and atomic installations/removals do sound pretty good.

Even though I've been off the iOS crackpipe for a 4+ years now, I agree that Safari as the only browser choice for iOS devices is myopic as all get out and needs to change. Safari is a perfectly fine default for simple web tasks as it's still pretty snappy performance-wise, but is a little long in the tooth for sites dependent on more modern features. I used Safari the first day it was released and I wasn't a huge fan then, but at least it was a viable option to the dreaded IE5 on the Apple platform and was under active development. Marooning users on a platform that is coasting along seems like a bad idea.

Unsurprisingly, there was a shitstorm on Reddit which is reaching 4chan levels of obnoxious. Ah, well, it was (bad) fun while it lasted. The clue here is that while making the elimination of harassment a priority is a good goal, firing one of the people who make the site attractive to those outside the neckbeard majority is a bad thing. I imagine the trolls will soldier on until Reddit becomes completely worthless. Godspeed or something.

Infinite Bandwidth and Escape From Bass

Next week I'm upgrading my home service to gigabit which not only makes me feel like I'm auditioning to be a Jetson, but also removes all bandwidth caps (yay!) that CenturyLink is infamous for. There really isn't a point having a relatively huge pipe if you can only take cautious sips from it. The speed increase will likely be the final determining factor in whether or not I'll renew on my MLB TV subscription for next season. The application complains about insufficient bandwidth for HD video despite having a largely unused (at least while I'm watching baseball) 100/60 connection. If I get the same crap when I've upgraded to gigabit, I'll just route around the damage. I hate it when I try to pay for things, find the paid service unusable, and have to break laws in order to get what I've paid for. Obviously it's very easy to do and I have no ethical qualms about getting what I've already paid them for; it's the extra effort needed to work around their arbitrary limitations. I may actually be done after 5 plus years of crappiness and blackouts.

On the opposite side of the same issue, it looks like Sprint is finally giving in to the notion that when you utilize unlimited data as part of your sales pitch, people expect to able to use it for something useful. Being throttled while trying to use Google Maps might actually be frustrating enough to hold up a temporary insanity defense during a murder trial.

Unrelated to any of the above but something I find interesting: Subwoofers are garbage for anything other than stuff pumped out of a laptop. I don't generally give two shits about people who go on tour with a laptop so I (and by extension the bands I play in) avoid places that depend on sub bass as part of their sound system.

The Most Beautiful Scam

I’ve read a whole bushel of really entertaining things recently that I didn’t really feel moved to write about. Maybe because they were just an effort to consolidate a number of web resources or maybe they were intriguing, but ultimately a slideshow designed to display as many advertisements per line of text as humanly possible. Blah, blah, blah, cranky old man is cranky. This study of how a purposefully meaningless study was widely quoted/spread and even penetrated into dead tree press. This was trolling on a scale that requires explications like this one to even truly appreciate. I won’t cherry pick it for the expected blockquote. Just go read the entire thing.

The Morning News Skim

This news that UC Berkeley might be shifting some of their animal testing to something that actually works is the best news (aside from Ringling Brothers’ announcement that they’re finally yielding to economic reality and ridding their act of elephants) I’ve heard so far this week.) UCB has long been an animal torturing holdout even after being fined and (sorta) shamed for neglect earlier this year and being protested and sabotaged over the years. This gives me a little bit of faith in the generally disinterested public; maybe people are starting to see that bad science doesn’t help anyone other than UCB and some privately held entities.

If you plan on buying the new Apple machines (especially the new and anemic Macbook) you’re likely going to have to drop a fair chunk of change on adapters given the weird port configuration. I’m not sure exactly what the strategy is here, but I’ll be sticking with Pros at work at least until the Retina revolution is complete and I try to phase them out entirely on a strictly bang versus buck basis. Apple has exhausted my patience for business support after gaining some footholds on the development side of the house and remaining steadfastly committed to fucking over folks who have to support them on the infrastructure side of the house. Whatever.

I really don’t want to talk about watches. Ever.

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