Editorial | 2022.06.25

Neural dall-e George Washington Supreme Court riots

Back in November I mused that Chief Justice Roberts was being duplictous in claiming, "[the Supreme Court], I think, generally don't reinvent the wheel" regarding the distinction between self-defense at home and in public (Heller):

Me Me I have a sinking suspicion the 'generally' qualifier was purposeful - like "we're gonna overturn Roe v. Wade" purposeful.

It was part of an investment discussion (RGR up 8% since Thursday) and seems to have been proven true as the Supreme Court struck down both may-issue concealed carry and Roe.

Band-pass filter

This week has felt significant enough to reflect on - like January 6th was and Ukraine was and GME was.

News and social media are currently awash with political and ideological discussions. The discussions are largely moot; the rulings have been made and the candy isn't going back in the pinata. I have no intention of joining the fray here or elsewhere, but I am interested in spitballing what's coming next. And one other thing:
Roe and the fall of the Supreme Court

Reddit Photoshop Battles Supreme Court coathanger
From Reddit's /r/photoshopbattles.

In the defense of the justices representing the majority opinion, I think a lot of people are calling their decision politically-motivated simply because they disagree with the decision. It's pretty normal to attack someone's motivations because you don't like their conclusion.

That being said said, the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling was the death of the apolitical Supreme Court.

Calling the Supreme Court historically apolitical might sound like the most naive perspective in the entire controversy. But it's what's taught in schools (even universities) and it's a point that the justices themselves have consistently reinforced to the public. And there's reason to believe them. Supreme Court decisions provide lengthy and heavily-scrutinized justifications - they can't simply bail on an interview or call dissent 'fake news'. Supreme Court justices are theoretically insulated from political coercion by having a lifetime appointment. Even the Trump appointees ruled against him in the National Archives case.

The fall

Neural dall-e supreme court on fire devil triangle
A Devil's Triangle, per Dall-e.

The media hasn't dropped the ball on the critical element here: they've run clips of each of the concurring justices (and Roberts) lying in their confirmation hearings about their opinion of Roe. Some have focused on the personal drama, "you lied to the American people and perjured yourself". Some have used less severe terms, "you dodged providing a direct answer to the question with phrases like, 'I believe it's settled law'".

Does the distinction between weasel words and an outright lie matter? No. These are Supreme Court nominees we're talking about. They are held to a different standard from used car salesmen. Probably all of them claim a religion that has doctrine for lies of omission. However you want to get there, they lied under oath.

Does the distinction between weasel words and an outright lie matter? Yes, it absolutely does. That last paragraph was right, but also wrong. If Alito and Gorsuch and Coney Barrett had simply lied about their intentions, their own reputation might be shattered but the court's reputation could be preserved. But they didn't just lie. They used crafted non-answers to circumvent telling a clear lie while intentionally misleading the American people.

"I believe Roe is settled law" was, simply, electioneering.

The campaign

Neural dall-e Supreme Court tank

While Justice Roberts is content to simply sound the death knell of the apolitical Supreme Court, Justice Thomas seems to have gone full General Sherman on his opponents' agenda. If you'll recall, Thomas was the only dissent in Trump v. Thompson. In Dobbs, his concurring opinion sets an agenda for future reversals of civil liberties.

So much for not "reinventing the wheel".


And there really isn't anything that can be done. Impeaching a Supreme Court justice requires 2/3s of a Senate that has spent decades practicing how to circle the wagons. So cases will continue to be escalated to the Roberts court and they can continue to rule based on their agenda (or that of the political powers that installed them).

The only out for the pro-choice crowd seems to be the end of the filibuster; something that brings a host of collateral effects. And even ending the filibuster to be too little/too late for this particular issue. SCOTUS has ruled that abortion (pregnancy-related privacy) is not a constitutional right. So the only way to get it back is a constitutional amendment, something that's even more difficult than impeachment.

Neural dall-e US map pistol supreme court

Friday's ruling stole almost all of the headlines and discussion from the one handed down the day before; the Bruen ruling on concealed carry. The nuances of this one may be unfamiliar to some, so here's the TLDR:

What changed on Thursday

Musketman in front of United States map drawing neural dall-e

The ruling bans may-issue and thereby forces states to allow people to obtain CCW permits with standards reflecting Bill of Rights-era regulations. The decision lays out the Court's rationale and guidance for lower courts, largely providing a constitutional originalist policy toward gun control.

To be clear, even if a modern-day regulation is not a dead ringer for historical precursors, it still may be analogous enough to pass constitutional muster.

Originalism, so only muzzle loaders are covered in the decision?

Neural dall-e Clarence Thomas Antonin Scalia

The [cited historical] statutes essentially prohibited bearing arms in a way that spread "fear" or "terror" among the people, including by carrying of "dangerous and unusual weapons." Whatever the likelihood that handguns were considered "dangerous and unusual" during the colonial period, they are today "the quintessential self-defense weapon." Thus, these colonial laws provide no justification for laws restricting the public carry of weapons that are unquestionably in common use today.

Those three sentences are quite a trip, leaning heavily on "quintessential" and "common" while totally ignoring the fact that human mortality hasn't kept pace with the lethality of firearms. The next paragraph may be the wedge for the next big 2A case:

Of course, the regulatory challenges posed by firearms today are not always the same as those that preoccupied the Founders in 1791 or the Reconstruction generation in 1868. But the Constitution can, and must, apply to circumstances beyond those the Founders specifically anticipated, even though its meaning is fixed according to the understandings of those who ratified it Indeed, the Court recognized in Heller at least one way in which the Second Amendment's historically fixed meaning applies to new circumstances: Its reference to "arms" does not apply "only [to] those arms in existence in the 18th century."

So can I finally exercise my constitutional right to defend myself on an airplane?

Neural dall-e pistol American flag

Federal courts tasked with making difficult empirical judgments regarding firearm regulations under the banner of "intermediate scrutiny" often defer to the determinations of legislatures. While judicial deference to legislative interest balancing is understandable?and, elsewhere, appropriate?it is not deference that the Constitution demands here.


The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not "a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees." The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need.

Probably no planes and no courthouses in the same way that there are specific exceptions to free speech.

What's next

It seems that the (Heller) concept of separating self-defense at home and in public has been upended. Regardless of where you fall on 2A issues, the risk calculation has changed in formerly may-issue states. It's really easy to not go to someone's private property if you don't blindly trust strangers with weapons. Public places are both completely unavoidable and more populated than a private residence or business.

Like with Roe, Thomas seems to be laying the foundation for a rather substantial agenda.

Infopost | 2022.06.23

dall-e mini collage gazelle camera vader mermaid zeppelin tree monster car desert


Pickle molly

The latest popular neural application is Dall-e mini. Seeing a (now) niche video game like PUBG in Cattle's message blew me away - I'm used to fixed datasets like VGG16 and hot dog/not hot dog. I checked out the web interface:

craiyon dall-e mini neural network borderlands bloodborne

Sure enough, the browser app could produce a style transfer-like image based on text input. And it seemingly had the labeling breadth to know words associated with video games.

craiyon dall-e mini neural network claptrap borderlands
Someone thought Claptrap was worth labeling.

And it's quick; a couple minutes to generate nine renditions of your input text. Compare that to style transfer having to crunch the numbers and backprop error to modify the source image.

I tried a few more, adding style prefixes like 'steampunk' and 'graffiti' and 'escher' and 'cyber'. Whoa:

thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network escher flag thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network escher flowchart thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network wave blueprint
thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network rainbow vader
thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network cyber wolf thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network bugatti tuktuk thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network satanic tree
thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network fear loathing thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network lamborghini vespa thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network investment meme
thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network graffiti claptrap borderlands thumbnail craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk zeppelin

The results are hit-or-miss and (as with most ML stuff) the output is a 200-something-pixel square. But it's awesome to see what a steampunk smartphone looks like. Or a nuclear martini. Or a flowchart created by MC Escher (or really just any PM, amirite?).

craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk iphone craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk iphone craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk iphone
craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk iphone craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk iphone craiyon dall-e mini neural network evil tree
craiyon dall-e mini neural network investment meme craiyon dall-e mini neural network investment meme craiyon dall-e mini neural network wave
craiyon dall-e mini neural network escher flowchart craiyon dall-e mini neural network escher flowchart craiyon dall-e mini neural network escher flowchart
craiyon dall-e mini neural network turian craiyon dall-e mini neural network anime asari craiyon dall-e mini neural network spongebob squarepants
craiyon dall-e mini neural network nuclear martini craiyon dall-e mini neural network rainbow vader craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk dolphin
craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk dolphins craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk whale craiyon dall-e mini neural network steampunk zeppelin
craiyon dall-e mini neural network motorcycle craiyon dall-e mini neural network flag craiyon dall-e mini neural network gallows

The model

Dall-e mini diagram bart vqgan clip

I haven't looked into the architecture too much, but the model is a combination of text processing, GAN image generation, and a postprocessor.

Dall-e mini language model image model diagram

I originally thought the inputs were like tags (data labels), but the text processing is pretty robust.

dall-e mini neural network ai graphics card
Neural graphics card (per Dall-e).

There's a substantially more capable flavor of Dall-e Mini called Dall-e Mega that requires considerably more GPU memory. So, I needed an offline version. There was a github repo called Dalle Playground that seemed to have a Hello World.

Offline, I mean it

The sandbox code was written to produce a web client, probably so you can make and monetize your own craiyon.com. I extracted the stuff needed to run it like: python cmd.py --text "A taco that poops ice cream".

import argparse
import base64
import os
from pathlib import Path
import time

from utils import parse_arg_boolean, parse_arg_dalle_version
from consts import ModelSize

from dalle_model import DalleModel
dalle_model = None

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description = "A DALL-E app to turn your
textual prompts into visionary delights")
parser.add_argument("--text", default = 'llama', help = 'Input strings')
parser.add_argument("--model", type = parse_arg_dalle_version, default =
ModelSize.MINI, help = "Mini, Mega, or Mega_full")
parser.add_argument("--count", default = 6, help = 'Generate count')

args = parser.parse_args()

print(f"{time.strftime('%H:%M:%S')} Creating model")
dalle_model = DalleModel(args.model)
print(f"{time.strftime('%H:%M:%S')} Created model")

def generate_images():
    print(f"{time.strftime('%H:%M:%S')} Generating")
    generated_imgs = dalle_model.generate_images(args.text, args.count)
    print(f"{time.strftime('%H:%M:%S')} Generated")

    returned_generated_images = []
    dir_name = os.path.join("./",f"{time.strftime('%Y%m%d_%H%M')}_{args.
    Path(dir_name).mkdir(parents=True, exist_ok=True)
    for idx, img in enumerate(generated_imgs):
        img.save(os.path.join(dir_name, f'{idx}.png'), format="png")




When I ran my cmd.py I got messages about running in CPU mode. This simply will not do for ML applications.

The dependencies were mostly automatic (on Linux), but the library that was skipping my graphics card was jaxlib.

I ran the pip command suggested on the jax site:

pip install --upgrade "jax[cuda]" -f https://storage.googleapis.com/jax-

But the dependency resolver installed an old cuda version that the git code couldn't handle.

I located the index of wheels so I could install the specific cuda/cudann flavor.


pip install https://storage.googleapis.com/jax-releases/cuda11/jaxlib-0.3.
ERROR: jaxlib-0.3.10+cuda11.cudnn82-cp38-none-manylinux2014_x86_64.whl is
not a supported wheel on this platform.

The cuda and cudann versions were right:

% nvcc --version
nvcc: NVIDIA (R) Cuda compiler driver
Copyright (c) 2005-2021 NVIDIA Corporation
Cuda compilation tools, release 11.5, V11.5.119
Build cuda_11.5.r11.5

So what was the "not supported"?

Oh. "cp38" is the cython version. Thanks, error message.

pip install cython

And I was good to go. The model loads in like a minute and each image takes a few seconds to generate.

Airships and styles

I started off with zeppelins and airships. Adding 'steampunk', 'watercolor', 'in a desert', 'in the mountains'. I like the fantasy and Da Vinci vibes.

dall-e mini neural network airship watercolor dall-e mini neural network airship dall-e mini neural network airship watercolor
dall-e mini neural network airship steampunk dall-e mini neural network airship monochrome dall-e mini neural network airship desert
dall-e mini neural network airship desert dall-e mini neural network airship fog dall-e mini neural network airship night mist
dall-e mini neural network airship zeppelin dall-e mini neural network airship diagram dall-e mini neural network airship forest
dall-e mini neural network airship forest dall-e mini neural network airship mountain

Animals and more styles

I tried some animals, with 'watercolor', 'plastic', and 'lineart'. The weimaraners don't look particularly photorealistic, but the artistic ones are kind of neat.

dall-e mini neural network deer dall-e mini neural network deer dall-e mini neural network gazelles
dall-e mini neural network plastic horse dall-e mini neural network lineart horse dall-e mini neural network plastic horse
dall-e mini neural network seal sand dall-e mini neural network butterfly sunset dall-e mini neural network horse cloud
dall-e mini neural network lion lineart dall-e mini neural network zebra dall-e mini neural network giraffes
dall-e mini neural network weimaraners

Topical graphics

Putting on my kilroy hat, I thought this might be a way to generate icons and graphics for posts about beer exploration or photography or a graphics card built to do neural processing (and not just vector math).

dall-e mini neural network beer dall-e mini neural network beer dall-e mini neural network beer
dall-e mini neural network beer dall-e mini neural network beer dall-e mini neural network beer
dall-e mini neural network camera slr lineart dall-e mini neural network camera slr lineart dall-e mini neural network camera slr


Photorealism isn't great on the mini model. And wheels are hard. That said, at a glance, the vehicles generated by the model look like they could be cleaned up and turned into a clay model. Dall-e has the lines and the supercar intakes right. I can see some of these in the following dataset:
dall-e mini neural network sports car dall-e mini neural network hummer desert dall-e mini neural network sports car
dall-e mini neural network sports car dall-e mini neural network sports car dall-e mini neural network sports car
dall-e mini neural network sports car dall-e mini neural network sports car dall-e mini neural network sports green hummer desert
dall-e mini neural network motorcycle race track dall-e mini neural network motorcycle lineart dall-e mini neural network motorcycle lineart

I wonder if Fiero+Ferrari looks like the body kit cars.

Claptrap again

Okay but how cool is the result for "claptrap pajamas"? And is that a Bad Robot Claptrap?

dall-e mini neural network borderlands claptrap pajamas dall-e mini neural network borderlands claptrap dall-e mini neural network borderlands claptrap robot

The neural wheelhouse

The blurring and uncanny valley aspects of GAN images makes Dall-e great for generating horrifying pictures. From tentacles to sea creatures to apocalyptic angels, Dall-e knows how to be creepy.

dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror people dall-e mini neural network horror people
dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror person hunter thompson dall-e mini neural network horror person
dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror cthulhu monster dall-e mini neural network horror monster
dall-e mini neural network horror alien dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror artistic
dall-e mini neural network horror monster nuclear dall-e mini neural network horror doll monster dall-e mini neural network horror mothman
dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror monster
dall-e mini neural network horror monster dall-e mini neural network horror alien dall-e mini neural network horror people

Dialing back the scariness

Unlike horror images, standard fictional fare doesn't look quite so good in blurry. Adding art style keywords like 'lineart' made things less fuzzy.

dall-e mini neural network mythical dragon fire dall-e mini neural network mythical angel dall-e mini neural network mythical angel
dall-e mini neural network mythical angel dall-e mini neural network mythical mermaid dall-e mini neural network mythical centaur
dall-e mini neural network mythical soldier dall-e mini neural network mythical soldier dall-e mini neural network mythical knight
dall-e mini neural network mythical dragon fire dall-e mini neural network mythical dragon dall-e mini neural network mythical dragon
dall-e mini neural network mythical baby yoda dall-e mini neural network mythical pegasus dall-e mini neural network mythical
dall-e mini neural network mythical dall-e mini neural network mythical samurai dall-e mini neural network mythical mermaid
dall-e mini neural network mythical dall-e mini neural network mythical pegasus dall-e mini neural network mythical alien
dall-e mini neural network mythical dall-e mini neural network mythical dall-e mini neural network mythical mermaid
dall-e mini neural network mythical dall-e mini neural network monster dall-e mini neural network monster
dall-e mini neural network monster

Other stuff

Dall-e does well with landscapes and abstract art.

dall-e mini neural network abstract dall-e mini neural network abstract dall-e mini neural network lineart pose
dall-e mini neural network anime character dall-e mini neural network desert dall-e mini neural network desert
dall-e mini neural network desert dall-e mini neural network desert

More Darth Vader

With sharp edges and simple details, the galaxy's finest pod racer looks good in the neural domain.

dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader
dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader dall-e mini neural network star wars darth vader

dall-e mini neural network horror angel

Having set up the offline code with the goal of running the mega version of the model, it looks like my 6gb graphics card is 2g short. There are workarounds, but the easiest one is to not have such a crap video card. I'm considering pulling the trigger on a 3080, but might sit tight for the 4000s to drop.

In the meantime, the offline interface is pretty flexible for scripting or whatever.

Review | 2022.06.18

Love Death and Robots swarm queen ending

Footwear, Netflix, and a bad week for CPI and crypto.
Turf boots

Soccer turf boots cleats shoes comparison delamination Nike Puma

Once again I found myself replacing my off-the-wall boots. Maybe it's a Puma thing. The pair on the left have some pretty obvious sole delamination. The same happened to the previous pair, on the right, though it's not as visible.

With plenty of tread still on the studs, I'm disappointed by how quickly they became unusable.

Soccer turf boots cleats shoes comparison delamination Nike Puma

Hoping the Nikes hold up better.
Love, Death, and Robots S3

Love Death and Robots Swarm transport ship aliens

I didn't have much hope for Love, Death, and Robots season three - both because Netflix likes canceling things and because season two was garbage.

This volume was actually pretty good. In order of recommendedness:
  1. Swarm: a twisted take on a tropey premise, this one had a surprising depth to its discussion of humans and the titular swarm.
  2. Bad Traveling: a great monster thriller.
  3. The Very Pulse of the Machine: a cool idea, though there wasn't much plot.
  4. Three Robots: the return of the bots from S1 was pretty heavy-handed but watchable.
  5. In Vaulted Halls Entombed: why do people in movies always try to fight swarms of insects with guns? Ending was great though.
  6. Kill Team Kill: like an adult GI Joe episode, not much sci-fi.
  7. Night of the Mini Dead: short enough that the tilt-shift gimmick didn't get annoying.
  8. Mason's Rats: the Tom and Jerry crap is part of what made S2 so bad.
  9. Jibaro: they must have looked at the footage and decided it needed to be run at 2x speed with annoying lighting effects.
thumbnail Love Death and Robots Season 3 listing thumbnail Love Death and Robots The Very Pulse of the Machine rover IO thumbnail Love Death and Robots Night of the Mini dead nuclear mutants thumbnail Love Death and Robots Bad Traveling ship
thumbnail Love Death and Robots The Very Pulse of the Machine Kivelson integrating
Investor sentiment

WallStreetBets Reddit bull bear crash technicals 2008

Is it 2008 all over again? Eh, this time around we have inflation and a crypto crash.


Mega-Lithium Mega-Lithium Jerome Powell, the current lawyer pretending to be an economist and chairman of the Federal Reserve strongly believes he can talk his way out of this.

Powell went to Georgetown Law and has no training as an economist. He believes so strongly in his silver tongue that he uses nonsense phrases like "forward guidance", "data dependent", and "we have the tools".

In December 2018, he caused a taper tantrum when he announced that the Fed would be reducing the pace of its purchases of Treasury bonds in order to reduce the amount of money fed into the economy.

Bond yields rose and stocks collapsed. This was predictable and actually cathartic and necessary.

Jay Powell, the lawyer, chickened out and got tweeted at fiercely by Trump and quickly reversed course.

This sent a signal to Wall Street that "this guys a puss" and he will never take the punch bowl away.

He never has. The 75 bps increase in the federal funds rate that was telegraphed, leaked and jawboned so much that if effectively became meaningless.

This is against an 8.6% rate of inflation that a year ago he called "transitory".

There is a forest fire and Jay Powell shows up with a squirt gun and his silver tongue.

Paul Volcker was a giant, he was 6'7" and was educated at the London School of Economics, Harvard and Princeton.

When inflation roared its ugly head in the 1980s, he did not go on TV, provide "data dependent forward guidance" or try to jawbone. He silently raised the federal funds rate to 20% and it took seven Secret Service men to carry his balls around.

(Edited for clarity.)


WallStreetBets new Reddit UI discussion BeardlessPete
I really hope this was mods trolling WSB. Pete is on-point though.
The terrace

Relaxing before taking on the next project.

Storypost | 2022.06.15

Veranda baby thunderdome gazebo artificial grass tree

Just in time for summer, the artificial turf went in and the terrace project is complete. Call it a veranda, call it a gazebo, call it an aviary, call it a beergarden, call it a baby corral, call it a baby thunderdome. Just don't call it unfinished, or we'll have to settle it in the baby thunderdome.

Wall stucco paint patch

I had to do some stucco patching. Takeaways:
Behr deep evergreen pmd-66

Then paint. Then the turf installers did their thing:

It's come a long way since last May.

Tree growing through veranda swing Plush leopard on a swing

A possible global food crisis is no reason not to invest the WSB way:

corn etf is already pretty close to a 52 week high
So we shouldn't buy?
Not yet, you need to wait for the top

I guess Disney is still at it with the Star Wars franchise:

Boba Fett is an oddly overrated background character, and even after watching The Book of Boba Fett, I don?t really care about him.
He was never a character. He was a cool helmet
Dude he was sooooo much more than just a helmet. He was a cool jetpack too.
Agreed. He was created solely to sell a toy that "fired" a mortar shell from his back. Cute gimmick for 8 year-old boys in the 1980s.
As you wish
(Rolling down the sarlac pit) ASSS YOU WIIIISSSSHHH.

Plush sloth Flowflex covid test

Storypost | 2022.06.10

Dog walk creek german shepard chau happy
Market pullback

The major indices were on the rise at the end of June but sentiment seems to indicate that we're on a pretty significant downslope. Probably don't buy every dip.


WallStreetBets post CPI text chat

From last night. Then today:

SPY June 10 CPI guh

I just wonder why the Federal Reserve lied so openly. Oh yeah, it was election year.

Asset-backed home loans

WSB WallStreetBets post real estate margin home loan photographer

Last month I linked to a WSB burrypost about a possible bubble created by portfolio margin being used for home purchases. I followed up with discussion about the possibility of a declining real estate market. The post above (click through for the full text) has a story that hits both areas of concern.

Single datapoints aren't much use by themselves, but the discussion occasionally yields more useful information.

velo_hots velo_hots I just wanna know what his plan was when he needed to sell 500k worth of his portfolio to pay taxes when he has a 750k loan against his 1.1m portfolio. He would basically immediately put himself into a margin call scenario given he's getting called over a 230k drop in portfolio value, let alone 500k

How the fuck was he even smart enough to get a 1.1m portfolio of he's doing this positively braindead shit

In this case the comments were more condemnation than informative discussion. But it makes me wonder if this was a random act of financial illiteracy or if someone (brokerage, friend, financial planner) convinced OP to make that move. If one realtor is telling his clients to get an asset-backed loaned to cover an unaffordable property, it might be more common than just these few stories.

Bosch angle grinder diamond cup wheel stucco

The artificial grass comes in soon so I'm hurrying to fix the stucco wall. Most of it is in great shape, but the bottom needs patching. The power washer didn't do much, so I came at it with a hammer/chisel and angle grinder with a diamond cup wheel.
A new keyboard

Microsoft LXN-00001 4000 ergonomic keyboard

My trusty old ergo 4000 keyboard has been dropping uphostery flecks everywhere so I ordered the successor model.

Wikipedia Cathcart nightly makes lists of "feathers in his cap" and "black eyes", often finding something in the former category is in fact in the latter one, considering all the possible ways in which his superiors could react to them. In his attempts to please nearly everyone, Cathcart discovers that all the other soldiers hate him.

It's been awhile so I'll use the Colonel Cathcart (Catch-22) format for reviewing the LXN-00001 in comparison to the 4000:

POSSE internet Andre the Giant

POSSE is an abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere, the practice of posting content on your own site first, then publishing copies or sharing links to third parties (like social media silos) with original post links to provide viewers a path to directly interacting with your content.

I got my daily push notification of a Hacker News post about the indieweb.

whiskey14 I've started writing a blog post and was wondering how do the folks on HN host their blogs these days?
a) own website
b) write on something like medium
c) use in built article feature on LinkedIn

These posts always have three tiers of comments:
  1. A comment that is just a blog/personal web site link, looking for clicks.
  2. A comment with the blog link and an overview of their development stack (WordPress, Hugo, hand-coded HTML, etc.). These are are kind of helpful from the learning perspective; you can click through and see what the tech stack supports.
  3. A comment with a technologist's discussion of what's out there and sometimes a link to an indieweb hub.
This one was pretty good:

kayamon I write on my own website, where I scream into the wind endlessly like an elderly person shaking his fist angrily at passing clouds. I don't believe anyone reads any of it but I find it helps me get my thoughts in order.

It's hosted on DreamHost. It's all custom, I glued it together with Markdown, CSS, and a little Python. I've been with them for years and I can still recommend them. I'm not sure the exact location matters though. Success comes not from the venue but bringing an audience.

Also the key to successful self-promotion is to spam your own stuff tirelessly until the heat death of the universe, so here we go:


It was totally worth the click-through for me, his blog has stuff about gaming, graphics, RE, and writing.

Another commenter:

theandrewbailey I blog on my own site, on my own domain name, on my own hardware.

But it seems that most HN'ers use a static site generator and push to Github Pages.

EDIT: might as well give the link: https://theandrewbailey.com/

Andrew Bailey blog personal web site Halo javascript
Source. I appreciated "You don't like running Javascript? There's some here, but you'll be OK without it. Keep being awesome!"

And the page footer:

This site is a member of the 1MB club. Computers and connections are faster than ever, but why does the internet feel more like dialup every day?

It really does. For example, that CNBC SPY chart from earlier in this post:

CNBC javascript NoScript blocker
That's more js than necessary.

Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere

POSSE diagram indie web

Returning to the image and quote at the top of the section, a lot of these HN discussions link to meta sites that extol the virtues of Web 1.0 while pushing their platform or tool. That said, indieweb.org has some succinct content describing the Old Web movement.

Let your friends read your posts, their way. POSSE lets your friends keep using whatever they use to read your stuff (e.g. social media silos like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.).

Stay in touch with friends now, not some theoretical future. POSSE is about staying in touch with current friends now, rather than the potential of staying in touch with friends in the future.

Like with other indiebloggers, there's a tinge of self-righteousness and the mentality of being at war with the Zuckernet.
I haven't shot a bow in months

Wolverine missing meme Aloy Horizon Forbidden West

I know, I posted about Slay the Spire less than a week ago. It's an easy game to drop-in/drop-out. Horizon requires immersion.
Ayy lmao

pork_fried_christ pork_fried_christ I'm so sick of these millennials and their attitudes.

Walkin' around like they rent the place.

Storypost | 2022.06.07

Elden Ring boss fog door hookclaws royal remains

I hit the big one. Luckily this game is co-op so I didn't have to do it alone.

Thanks Rob for the early drop of photos.

Jes put together an awesome party; there were appetizers, desserts, beer, games, and bubbles.

thumbnail Birthday card child surfing dog thumbnail Birthday card puna
thumbnail Child birthday card dog surfing thumbnail Birthday card
Wood treatment

Horizontal fencing worn

Last time I mentioned maybe hitting the veranda with linseed oil. The sun is pretty quick to destroy fencing around these parts (see above) and termites are not far behind.

Wood treatments pressure treated copper green boiled linseed oil wood penetration

I'd already hit all the wood with a water-based stain/sealer, but looked around online for other views on wood preservatives. Somebody mentioned that the home remedy of using motor oil to treat wood probably isn't the safest option (kind of like how contractors always complain that modern materials don't use "the good stuff"). But okay, wood soaked in motor oil might not dry out rapidly.

I was, of course, familiar with pressure treated wood and retroactively adding copper green to regular lumber. Online woodworkers seemed to point to boiled linseed oil as a safe alternative to 10w-30. Based on photos I dug up and will have to verify irl, it looks like the oil absorption is similar to copper green.

Horizontal wood fencing brackets linseed oil drip absorption

While the traditional process is oil-then-seal, I'd already sealed thrice over. So it was annoying to see the so much oil be absorbed in what should be well-sealed wood.

Gloomhaven Cragheart Dr Rockzo cocaine line

Having named my Cragheart (rock character) Dr. Rockzo, I shouldn't have been suprised to find a party member had accessorized my character card.

Pandemic Legacy Season 0 board June

Meanwhile, the same crew has blasted through seven months of Pandemic Legacy Season 0 in two sessions.

Pandemic season 0 infiltration objective

While the infiltration and encirclement gameplay elements aren't particularly complex, they adds some nice month-to-month variety. As do the psychological evaluations upon which the team can never agree.
Elden Ring

Elden Ring Dragonkin Nokstella boss area player silhouette

The journey continues, some visuals:

Elden Ring Abductor Virgin Raya Lucaria Elden Ring ant queen egg sack tunnels frightening Elden Ring Blaidd conversation Forlorn Hound Evergaol Elden Ring cave co-op scythe royal remains
Elden Ring cemetary troll flaming sword Elden Ring dungeon chariot royal remains Elden Ring knight conversation shack
Elden Ring cave corpse pile scythe coffins Elden Ring Dragonkin Nokstella battle scythe Elden Ring dungeon statue candles Elden Ring view horseback tower of limgrave erdtree
Elden Ring combat co-op horseman knight flaming sword Elden Ring Iji conversation Elden Ring omg there is a living jar running at us co-op
Elden Ring Raya Lucaria boulder stairs osha Elden Ring Raya Lucaria bridge raining Elden Ring Raya Lucaria view elevator wheel Elden Ring magic attack ow ouch yeowch
Elden Ring Dragonkin Nokstella cave entrance Elden Ring Dragonkin Nokstella lightning Elden Ring Raya Lucaria cathedral
Elden Ring Renna conversation Elden Ring Rennala moon combat staff Elden Ring scholars candles battle creepy Elden Ring Rennala library Raya Lucaria
Elden Ring Rennas Rise view dragon Elden Ring Street of Sages Ruins Elden Ring Glintstone Dragon Smarag combat breathing fire
Elden Ring ant cave Elden Ring Tibia Mariner glamor shot Elden Ring Ulcerated Tree Spirit battle Elden Ring Red Wolf of Radagon battle debate parlor
Wen moon?

bye_stander bye_stander Two apes die and are standing before the throne of God. One falls to his knees: "Lord, I've spent my life waiting for MOASS. I'm begging for the truth: when MOASS? when moon?"

A sigh comes from On High. "January 2021, a share went up thousands of percent - every media worldwide wrote about it. That was it"

Shaken, the ape turns to his companion. "Wow. The fuckery goes EVEN HIGHER than I thought!"

I don't have any investment discussion this time, but this comment made me chuckle. Okay and here's a callback to a November post about potential huge changes to states' ability to regulate firearms in public:

New York Times tweet SCOTUS ccw
Decision 2022, etc.

I'm sold.
Skeeter didn't do it for ya? Anonymous
Omg how awesome would the name Skeet Saacke be?
Tf is marijuana plastic?

This year's primaries weren't nearly as fun as 2016 or 2018, but at least we got a good "marijuana plastic" candidate in.
More web wanderings

m15o I've found the Winamp Skin Museum and it's been a fun trip. Winamp was such a landmark, distinctive software. A product of its age. We could download it, theme it, make it our own. It was also true for lots of software of that era.

I've idly spun the wheel on that blog stumbler I linked a little while back and came upon m15o.town. The minimalism, ascii art, and subject matter really nails the Old Web, 2.0 vibe. And it loads content without javascript.

Nightfall City We can see it all from the top of the hills in Dusk's End. It's hard to tell apart the sky from the skyline, but locals enjoy the distance. The eerie city lights projected on the sky invite reverie and introspection. People from all over come watch the moment night falls from this scenic landmark.

It's linked from a webring with a similarly old school aesthetic called Nightfall City whose 'towns' are callbacks to dungeon crawler text.

Telegram message NYC Blade club
He made it out.

Child toy cow

Photo baby backpack hike catch lights
Catch lights on a hike.

Review | 2022.06.05

Risk of Rain plus Dominion equals Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire was one of the PS+ games a month or two ago. I'd heard good things, so I gave it a whirl. Here's a pictoral commentary:

Slay the Spire combat card selection Masterful Stab The Silent
Core gameplay is combat executed through cards - attack, defense, persistents, etc.

Slay the Spire character select The Silent
You start by choosing one of four characters with distinct card sets. There are shared (colorless) cards and there is an item that lets you pull cards from other sets.

Slay the Spire tower map
A 'run' consists of a series of combats, merchant interactions, rest/recovers, and events (normally a brief dialogue with a reward/punishment). You choose your path from the first floor to the final boss (or early demise).

Slay the Spire conversation Augmenter JAX JAXXED
The combats (monster symbols) and merchants (money symbols) are pretty self explanatory. Here's an event (question symbol).

Slay the Spire The Silent statue head Dodge and Roll
Some battles are easy, some are tough. If you lose, your run is over. The enemies are all fairly unique (visually and tactically), it's not just the player that uses the numerous game mechanics.

Slay the Spire loot Torii relic
Each time you defeat an enemy/mob, you get loot, including gold (for the merchant), consumables, and relics with persistent effects.

Slay the Spire post-combat card select
You also get to choose a new card to add to your deck, if you want. Like most (all?) deckbuilders, the key is to have a deck with synergy.

Slay the Spire donut enemy The Defect
The spire has three sections, each with a boss (one of a handful of possibles).

Slay the Spire relic selection Runic Pyramid
Defeating the boss refreshes your hp and gives you a choice of relics. I didn't use Runic Pyramid until my final run and, honestly, it feels like a completely different game with it. Other than very particular builds, Runic Pyramid seems mandatory.

Slay the Spire heart conversation
After defeating the boss of the third section, you run into a heart that puts you to sleep.

Slay the Spire three key symbol
It becomes obvious that something different happens when you reach the heart with each of the three starter characters (I guess the fourth was an add-on).

I loved the game, but won't be one of those die-hards playing at max endgame difficulty. There's a huge amount of gameplay variety with the card and relic combinations, but each have enough scarcity that no two runs are the same.

If anything, I think the game could have added replayability by adding more endgame objectives or motivations to use non-minmaxed builds.

Slay the Spire combat block Slay the Spire combat blobs Slay the Spire The Watcher combat knight Slay the Spire Apotheosis Ironclad
Corrupt heart (spoilers)

Slay the Spire the Silent heart battle Caltrops

Reaching the heart with Defect was no easy task for me, so when I finally unlocked the heart battle I went with the Silent. I almost, almost beat the heart on my first try with a Shiv build (and nothing super fortuitous like a fairy in a bottle). I blame NyQuil for the failure.

Slay the Spire the Silent poison deck
The poison deck that took me all the way. I managed to thin out all my strikes and some of my blocks.

The other viable build is poison, and it's the one I used to finally escape the spire. With Burst (2x next card) on Catalyst+ (3x enemy poison), it doesn't take much to do max per-turn damage to the big baddie. And the beauty of poison: it persists, so you just have to stay alive.

The challenges with this build were more from the mid-game. I could have easily perished long before reaching the final floor if it wasn't for the relics that gave 10 and 12 block on rounds 1 and 2. The medical kit was also super useful for ditching curse cards for free.

This was my first time trying Runic Pyramid (keep your unplayed hand rather than discard) which, as I mentioned, changes the game entirely. I pulled a lucky Bullet Time (play everything in your current hand for free) late in the run so I could go through my maxed out hand or just Calculated Gamble+ (redraw).

The heart still hits pretty hard, so it was necessary to bring multiple Piercing Wail (debuff enemy strength) and use them wisely.

Slay the Spire the Silent ending
Silent escaped, I'll call it there.

Slay the Spire ending teaser eyes

The game teases another boss. I may look that up, but I'm not sure I can put together a winning build with Defect.

Infopost | 2022.06.03

Seagate press release acquisition of Maxtor
So this post is about logical file systems. Still, if there's a good metaphor, it's Seagate (who, by all information available to me, makes garbage hardware) acquiring Maxtor (who, by all information available to me, made great hardware).

Here's a brief history of user data storage, precipitated by an extremely frustrating experience with Google Drive. "History" isn't the right word. This is an ill-informed presumption of how things went and lacks any due diligence or regard for facts. But I'm pretty sure it's accurate.
Storage v1: file manager

Windows 95 file manager icon

In the beginning, there was File Manager. Well, obviously, this wasn't the beginning. But it was the beginning for mass market computer use. And if you want to rewind to *nix and DOS, they were what File Manager represented graphically.

File Manager let you see everything on your hard drive, displayed as branches and leaves on a tree. There was no magic and it was as organized and unambiguous as the user desired. Well, okay, filesystems under the hood are kind of magical.

But, probably, a bunch of users lost track of where their documents lived in this tree. Or they deleted a Windows configuration file. Or something.
Storage v1.5: "My Documents"

Microsoft Bob

Microsoft seemingly addressed the partition between user data and everything else by aggressively pushing its users into the "My Documents" sandbox. I'm not using airquotes here, it's necessary to enclose "My Documents" in quotes because it contains whitespace.

The execution may be mediocre and something that changed again and again, but it was a good idea. "My Documents" mirrored the use of ~/ on other operating systems, but was named to annoy anyone who thinks filepaths shouldn't have whitespace or capitalization (in a case-insensitive filesystem).

It also encouraged the user to adopt Microsoft's ever-shifting paradigm of sorting things into "My Music", "My Pictures", "My Videos", Downloads (no my or quotes) and so forth.

Depressingly, at least one Linux distro followed suit by creating similar subdirectories in ~/.
Storage v2.0: the application is dead, long live the app

Android app storage Firefox Nightly

"Hey", some hypothetical person said, "people only access files via apps, right?"

And crucially, "I (the product manager) only want people playing music in my music app or viewing photos in my photo app. So let's shift the paradigm. Instead of having our killer apps access files on the computer, let's put the files in the app."

And so user content was moved to the fiefdom of the software that created/downloaded it. In most cases, the data could be accessed traditionally via the filesystem, but not easily. To whit:

C:\"Program Files"\steam\userdata\36942016\760\remote\780290\screenshots

And so everyone that grows up using only phones and tablets thinks of photos as something in Instagram, rather than a jpg that Instagram can access.
Storage v3.0: data as a service

From a user perspective, the cloud is just app data that will survive if you drop your phone in the toilet. It's persistent as long as you have mobile/wifi bars and a subscription. Access to user is dependent on the front end app, often taking the form of search and/or a timeline. The cloud tells users that it can organize their data based on the meta information, so just sync everything.
You were talking about Google drive?

Google drive file count directory UI fails

Ah yes.

I wanted to back up Jes's shared drive of Danielle photos. Downloading them isn't too bad, Google zips them and lets you download the files as one or more archives. To verify I got all of the files, I wanted to compare the number of local files to remote files for each directory. Obviously this wasn't a problem on my local file browser but it wasn't so easy on Google Drive. The directory details view that I expected (and searched for) didn't seem to exist.

I looked for answers. The suggestion I found was to go through the motions of sharing the directory with someone, the share confirmation would ask if you wanted to "Share ### files". They must have changed it because when I tried it just said "Share files" or something nonspecific.

The only way I found to count the files in a Google Drive directory:
  1. Browse to the directory.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom. This isn't straightforward for anything with more than a few files; the list lazy loads. So you have to hold the bottom of the scroll bar until the "..." goes away.
  3. Select all and look for the toast that briefly appears.
But this was using a browser. I'm sure there's a gdrive desktop app. I should have used that to sync to local. Then sent it to the USB backup drives using the Western Digital app. Or just left everything in the cloud.