Categories
art culture nerd writing

Poe

Tonight I reread some Edgar Allen Poe, one of my favorite writers since I was a child. I remember being heartbroken while riding home from vacation with my parents. The blood drained from my face as I screamed. I left a volume of Poe behind in a drawer, to be read never more.

Now, I have two copies of Poe on the shelf. Tonight I read:

  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • Some Words with a Mummy

Good times.

Categories
nerd writing

Fitting New Word for 2020

I learned a new word, one that perfectly describes Dr. Scott Atlas and many others in the Trump administration. Ultracrepidarianism is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.

Fancy way of saying, “He’s full of shit!” Now, enjoy George Carlin!

Categories
general nerd

How I lost control of our bank accounts to a phone scammer

How I lost control of our bank accounts to a phone scammer | The Robservatory:

Do yourself a favor, and don’t be me. I never thought I’d be “that guy” either, as I keep current on scams, look for signs of fishiness on phone calls, etc. Still, they got me, and it was painful—not necessarily in terms of financial loss (we’re out $500 for maybe 60 to 90 days while they investigate), but in terms of time: Time to fix what I did, and even more time spent beating myself up over my stupidity.
Here’s the tl;dr version: Do not ever, as in never ever, give out a verification code over the phone. I know that now. I knew that earlier today. I’ve known that for years. And yet, I did it. What follows is a bit of the nitty-gritty on how I got scammed, what I learned (beyond the above), and some technological things that affected my behavior during the call. Hopefully the sharing of my stupidity will help others avoid the same fate…

Click the link above and read this article. I think it is so important for people to understand how these scams work. Rob is smart and I am thankful he detailed all of the steps that made this phone scam so convincing.
Sorry for your trouble Rob, but thank you for sharing!

Categories
apple art nerd

TipBITS: Enable the Startup Chime on New Macs – TidBITS

TipBITS: Enable the Startup Chime on New Macs – TidBITS:

When Apple disabled the startup sound by default in 2016, it was discovered that a Terminal command could bring it back:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%01

Unfortunately, that approach stopped working with Mac models in 2017, presumably due to Apple removing the option in a macOS update, and since then, new Macs have started up silently. Now, however, Twitter user DylanMcD8 has discovered a new NVRAM parameter that brings back the startup sound, even on the latest Macs.

sudo nvram StartupMute=%0

Also, the associated video is delightful.

Categories
nerd technology writing

Updated WordPress, Updated Theme

Updated to the latest WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” and trying out the default 2020 theme.

With a few tweaks, I think I like it.

2019-11-17 update: I don’t like numbers that descend below the baseline, so I’ve swapped the font from the default to Gentium Book Basic.

Categories
nerd technology writing

Fast Software, the Best Software — by Craig Mod

Fast Software, the Best Software — by Craig Mod:

Software that’s speedy usually means it’s focused. Like a good tool, it often means that it’s simple, but that’s not necessarily true. Speed in software is probably the most valuable, least valued asset. To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book — makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.

John Gruber posted about this article over at The Daring Fireball and he’s right. It is a delightful read for a nerdier audience and hammers home some excellent points about software.
If you are so inclined, give it a read.

Categories
brain culture nerd technology

Keep Podcasts on RSS

I’m still upset that Google provided Reader, then killed it. Don’t let the same mess happen with podcasts.
Big companies are trying to monetize and monopolize an open standard. Please don’t let this happen. Learn more:

Categories
brain nerd technology

Your terminal is not a terminal

Your terminal is not a terminal: An Introduction to Streams:

Streams are just that: streams. In the same way that a river has a stream of water, programs have streams of data. Moreover, just like you can use steel pipes to carry water from one place to another, you can use UNIX pipes to carry data from one program to another. This was the very analogy that inspired the design of streams:
We should have some ways of connecting programs like a garden hose — screw in another segment when it becomes necessary to massage data in another way. This is the way of I/O also. — Douglas McIlroy
Streams can be used to pass data into programs and to get data out of them.

The running water water analogy is a great way to explain many complicated topics and Lucas Costa uses it to great effect. You even uses |pipes| to flow input from one command to the next.
Go read his post if, like me, you find yourself scratching your head trying to understand how to work efficiently on the command line.

Categories
music nerd

Virtuoso Series – Mark Knopfler

It is always amazing to me when someone excels at performing and almost looks bored while explaining what they do. Witness Mark Knopfler.

There’s more.

Categories
brain life nerd writing

Breaking Digital Bonds

My habits have become terrible. All of my idle moments are filled with Twitter, Instagram, and endless mindless games of Microsoft Solitaire (which is the best handheld solitaire game I have found to date and please don't download it for your own sake and sanity just DON'T DO IT).
So it's time for some change. The easiest change is to read more, not in witty chunks of 240 characters or 500-word articles on, well, everything. I mean reading real books of fiction and non-fiction, and I mean reading for fun and not to learn anything. I mean reading like I did when I was a kid riding my bicycle to the public library between the polo field and elementary school to fill up my summer reading booklet with titles.
I've had a Kindle for years. It's the third-generation Kindle with the physical keyboard. It's slow, and I'm old and need lots of light to read now. As I was finally finishing American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book I purchased two or three years ago and only finished Sunday night, I found myself leaning into the lamplight and squinting to make out the words. It was frustrating, so it didn't take me long to upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite and I got it yesterday and it's wonderful.
Now I'm digging into the five-volume box set of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones saga, which may be too ambitious. Having watched the series on HBO (and eagerly anticipating the final season), reading the books is like watching it again in slow motion in my brain. The writing is great, but I'm not sure if it will hold my attention to the end. I wish I had read it before watching the series so I could kvetch about how they did so-and-so wrong and "No, it wasn't like that in the book!" with all of my fellow nerds.
Reading more will, hopefully, lead me to write more regularly. One plan to reframe my brain on the front is to simply move around a bit. Today I have holed up in a local coffeehouse. Cliché, I know, but it's working. I can see they have Wi-Fi, but I refuse to ask for access. That invisible Wi-Fi wire will bind my mind and I'll be stumbling through Twitter and reloading Reddit before I know it. If I really start jonesing for a connection, I have a paper notebook and pencil.
In case of emergency…unplug!
These grand plans for change are fresh on my mind. For now, it's working. I have written more today than I have in the past year. Much of it is rambling. Nobody would want to read it, but it's getting garbage out of my brain. I spent many years making a living as a writer, enough time to know that the words will start making sense if I just start giving them form outside of my brain. I remember someone saying something like "you can't think your way out of writer's block" and that is so true. Thinking is important, but spilling thoughts into a more physical medium is the only way to break a block. It seems like a contradiction, but you must write your way through writer's block.