Mid-November Miscellany

In no particular order:

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Coming Up This Week

There are a variety of items to come in the week ahead. Matters include:

  • Continue writing on the short story that is in progress. Currently I have it up to 1,053 words.
  • Get my sermon ready for preaching at the Landing on the 24th.
  • Show Dad how to use Telegram as he is now reachable that way.
  • Gain a better understanding of the markdown package in the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network for making auto-generated LaTeX documents such as with either newspaper or papertex.
  • Continue to review Writer’s Market and determine where I should start trying freelance submissions.
  • Review of the charter of the City of Ashtabula relative to how to draft an initial contact letter to start the legislative initiative process so as to get the city moving to perhaps get a station open locally of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (a.k.a. AMTRAK).
  • Ease up at AskUbuntu where I keep having to hold back on tagging edits where I end up leaving the reason of Xubuntu refers to a single flavor and isn't a wildcard for any flavor. It is bad enough that I went ahead and had the description for the Xubuntu tag changed to now state: “Xubuntu is a community developed, Ubuntu-based (Ubuntu with XFCE desktop environment) GNU/Linux operating system. This tag is not meant to be used as a wildcard as to the desktop environment variant of Ubuntu that you are asking about.” There aren’t wildcard variables in words in the English language so using Xubuntu as a wildcard expression for any flavor of Ubuntu is something that needs to be cut down.
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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Blocked Writing

Now that I have left the service I am spending time writing. Television can provide some inspiration for that. Unfortunately it appears we have wall to wall coverage of impeachment hearings coming up on the major networks this week in lieu of regular programming. Frankly that horrifies me. What has not been investigated ad nauseum since Mr. Trump was elected? With an election contest in progress in the United Kingdom the horror of this is spreading across the pond with BBC Parliament broadcasting it too.

Are we trying very hard to institute the “Big Lie” expounded upon in A Brave New World perhaps?

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Explaining Thinking

The current version of the website is made using MkDocs while the immediately previous version was made using LaTeXML. Both of these are design decisions that are likely to be seen as counter-intuitive. When you look at a directory of static site generators you end up seeing a small spot of bother.

There are a very, very large number static site generators out there. The home page for Erie Looking Productions does not need to be overly complicated. At this point I do not need to incorporate a billing back-end. I do not need to incorporate an ordering front-end. Providing a listing of services and contact details is sufficient. The previous LaTeX-based site was very rooted in a paper-based world of black text on a white background. In shifting to the new generator I add a slight amount of color to the site. I still need to adjust the favicon to something a bit more appropriate. Then again, the book is good for now.

The proliferation of static site generators is problematic. We don’t have a core sufficiently documented and many people just roll their own. It might be axiomatic that people will roll their own generator considering that Website Meta Language has origins dating back to 2001. For selecting a generator I ended up looking for the simplest tool to accomplish the job. There are plenty of exceedingly complicated tools that have features I will likely never use.

As the Terms of Service have started to drift again at Google I ended up removing any mention of an e-mail address. I’ll stick with using Telegram and Skype contact methods, for now. The landscape is changing pretty quickly for contact methods.

I do hope this version of the site persists for a while.

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Week Ahead Goals

There is a federal holiday this week. Veterans Day is specified in 5 USC 6103(a) as falling on November 11th each year. Participating in commemorative events and actions will be appropriate.


Goals in the week ahead include:

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Early F-Cycle Adventuring

This blog does recount my misadventures in using computers. I had not intended to so quickly get back into testing. After several frustrating failures in trying to upgrade to 19.10 that left me with a system that refused to boot I chose to take a risk.

After many multiple failed upgrade attempts as well as a failed attempt to install something completely different I was about to settle for just using the Windows Subsystem for Linux under Windows 10 1903. The problems is that Windows 10 just feels so utterly slow to me compared to Xubuntu or even Ubuntu MATE. This may come from having to use very unmaintained computers for almost six years in a government job that ran very old versions of Microsoft Windows that were very behind the rest of the world.

Considering all that I decided to push forward. I got Focal Fossa installed on my laptop and it is working for the time being.

I recorded on the ISO Tracker what are effectively my test results. Sadly we don’t have enough people testing ISO images. You don’t have to be doing installs to bare metal hardware like I did as you can test in a virtual machine too. Of course I’ll be filing bugs when software breaks as I use my laptop here on out.

Testing is not glamorous. It isn’t a realm of heroes compared to building some great new framework for building a static website. However it is a great work to help provide people experiencing extreme frustration when they can’t get their upgrade to work or fresh install to work. If you want to build an ever larger community of users in the Ubuntu kingdoms then we do need to ensure barriers to entry are not insurmountable.

Focal Fossa is a Long Term Support release. With a 3-5 year support window depending upon the flavor there will be a great need to get it right. According to my last look at the schedule it appears we’ll be targeting April 23rd, 2020. That’s just under 171 days away with a variety of holidays cropping up during that time.

Are you ready to join in any facet of this great adventure?

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Honey, I Nuked The Linux Install Again...

To quote Britney Spears: “Oops, I did it again…”

I attempted to upgrade my rolled-back Xubuntu 18.04 install to 19.10. That failed miserably. To add insult to injury I have not been able to get that recovered. The 19.10 install works provided you use the kernel from 18.04. That’s not tenable. Not being able to install anything else has me frustrated as well.

Fortunately I was able to get in and revoke the GnuPG key that was less than a month old that I generated on that install. My laptop dual-boots Windows 10 and Linux so I still have Windows 10 to fall back to with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Unfortunately a dual-core kabylake 2.5 gigahertz machine with 8 gigabytes of RAM feels woefully underpowered for Windows these days. If I did not feel as uncomfortable turning off “Secure Boot” I would likely slap Tiny Core Linux on this machine since it is only 2 years old. The ncurses-favoring minimalist tendencies do come out at times, I fear.

I do think I would need Secure Boot disabled to try to install OpenBSD to this laptop. An installation attempt failed as multiple attempts to create installation media went wrong apparently. Something felt definitely wrong with the multiple mishaps as the laptop wouldn’t boot a Xubuntu ISO written to a pen drive either.

A paradigm shift back to a sort of “fog computing” may end up occurring. For now I am locked out of my VMs until I get something up and running again or getting PuTTY properly configured on Windows 10. Properly configuring Ubuntu 18.04 via WSL may also be required, I suppose.

AND ANOTHER THING: I happened to hear KCJJ 1630 AM while out driving tonight. They’re merely based in Iowa City, Iowa. Radio physics is fun!

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License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
November Kick-off

In no particular order:

  • We had an electrical outage. It started shortly after 0030 and lasted until 1400 or so. While not amusing it was expected. Very high winds were happening overnight with some strong gusts at gale force strength. When you live in the deciduous forest you run the risks of trees coming down and taking out electrical lines. Quite a few trees came down.

  • WWOW also went down hard during the outage. I need to make some further inquiries. Depending upon the financial health of that station I might want to line up some partners. An unsolicited takeover bid could be worth trying, I think.

  • I have a fiction story draft submitted to an outlet for consideration. This outlet pays and that is a good thing. The hard part is hurrying up and waiting.

  • Snow is now in play. I am not amused.

  • I am supposed to note that the correct GnuPG key has been updated to pub rsa3072/e6688e6d00c62660676debea6c68fc8f7cd46ed6 2019-10-17T03:26:28Z Hash=cecc4f509e22b68a0811013de4bdd7dd

  • I can be reached via Telegram pretty easily right now. I do not want that to become the sole way to reach me via voice. Time will tell if things turn around economically.

  • No, I cannot afford to go back to school at this time. I have to spend some time getting health issues in order. The soonest that could begin would be June 2020. There are plenty of resources to review as well as lists of programs to consider at another time. Then, of course, there are some options already on the table to consider for M+18 and M+36.

Updated The Company Site

After some brief frustration and some re-work, I have re-built the site for Erie Looking Productions. Previously the site was a LaTeX document converted using LaTeXML to be the site. Now I utilized MkDocs to make the site. It is still a very simple site. It still does not need to be too complicated.

Complicated remains a matter held in abeyance.

The Price of Post-Paper

In a place that some might have forgotten, I dropped some citations and expressed some concern over the fires in California. The question had come up for me as to how impractical a smart home might be in the rotating electrical outages if there were no manual overrides. Unfortunately I still need to do some research of National Fire Protective Association standards in the matter.

I was surprised to see something based upon a posting to Hacker News:

Replace with actual screenshot of O’Reilly website
showing it is down due to wildfires after fixing
image hosting glitch
+–––––––––––––––––––––––––+
|^^^###^#^#^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^###@###^^^^^|
|^####@@$#@##@##^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^M$M$M$M^#@#^|
|##@@#@@@@#@@@@##@#@@###@######@@###@####@#@M###@####@#@M###@##@@@@$M@@##@##|
|WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|WWMMWMMMWWM$WMWWMMMWWWMMWWMMWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|WW$$M$$MWW$$$$$$$$$$$$@$$$$M$WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|MWMMMWMMWWMMMMMMMMWMWMMMMWMMMWMMWWWMMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMMMWMMWWMWMWMMMWMWMMMWMWM|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#@^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^##^^^^^^^#^^^^#^#^^^^^##^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@@$$$^#$@$#^$$$@$$^#$@@@$$@$^^@$@$@$$^@$$@$@$$@$@@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^###^^^^^^^^^^^#^#^^#^^^#####^^#^^^#^^##^^#^^#^####^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@@@$$$$$$@$@$^#@@$^#$#@M@@$$@$$@@$$@@$@^^#$@$#$@$@$@$#^@@@@@@$@^^^^^^^^|
|^^#^^^^^^##@#^^^#^###^^#^##^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@^@$@$@@$@$@$$@$@$$$$$$$@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^#^^^^#^^#^^###^#^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^#^#^##^####^^^###^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^##^#^^##^^#^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^##^###^^#^##^#^^^##^^^#^#^#^##^^##^#^#^^^^#^^^^#^^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^##^^^#^^#^^##^#^^#^#^^^^#^^#^#^#^^^^#^^#^^^#^^#^#^^^#^^^#^#^#^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^#^^##^^^^####^#######^^^#####^^###^^#^^##^##^#^##^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^###@@####^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^#^###^##^#^#^^#^#^#^####^^#^#^##^#^#^#^^#^^#^^##^^#^#^##^^#^^^^^^^^^^^#^|
|^#^#^^^^#^^#^#^#^#^#^#^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^#^^^^^^|
+–––––––––––––––––––––––––+

There is a reason I push very hard for buying print materials if at all possible. In an electronic environment where you rely on somebody else in the cloud to provide you content those clouds can disappear. In this particular case the wildfires in California are resulting in electrical outages that are disrupting the world’s sixth largest economy if it stood alone as a country. In this case I do happen to have at least one book from this particular publisher in print at hand.

When I looked at LibraryThing earlier today I found that I have 282 books on-hand. The DVD collection on-hand is not bibliographically controlled. If access to the Internet went away for me due to natural hazard or nefarious deeds I would likely have longer latency times in terms of contacting others. The rural area I am located in is often just barely away from the paradigm of ”Never Underestimate the Bandwidth of a Station Wagon Filled with Backup Tapes” anyhow. My biggest natural hazard is a deep freeze rather than a brush fire.

I have seen multiple projects out there for building a pen plotter. Moving onward to your own printing press is a bit bigger of a project although the basics for designing the material to be printed are well-founded. The conundrum for me is if born-digital materials should be more readily convertable to print or micrographic formats. You can have a great blog, ebook, or other born-digital work but if millions upon millions of potential likely readers/viewers are sitting in darkness did anything that you created exist for them?

Answers still seem elusive at this point.

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BOFH excuse #329:

Server depressed, needs Prozac