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Nuke and Pave

At this point I had to rather severely roll back the laptop. Going back to the LTS was not my idea of fun but I need something functional at the moment. It took a few tries but I got the machine’s new SSH keys uploaded to Launchpad. From there I was able to log in to the console for each droplet on Digital Ocean to run ssh-import-id to pull the keys from Launchpad to each droplet. That ensured I can still SSH into each one and not otherwise be locked out.

My vanilla TeX Live 2019 install didn’t go kaboom. That is good.

I have been able to move over to multiple snap packages on 18.04 and this will be a good thing at the moment. One of those is the Telegram snap. I still have to fix issues to ensure I transition over to the Chromium snap.

Remaining reset matters include getting the array of Mutt-related settings back in place. Unfortunately there are several e-mail accounts associated with me. I generally have to approach them one at a time in Mutt to keep things relatively sane. I have the set of muttrc files that get cycled through backed up but I cannot find the media upon which I stashed them…at least for the moment.

I had to generate a new GnuPG key since I could not denounce the prior key. The new key can be found out there. I’m just going to have to roll with it, alas. This current key has a 12 month validity to it.

With luck I can get everything back on track. I do have OBS installed from snap now. I just have to figure out what to do with this, alas.

Moving Past Failure

Well, none of that actually worked. I had to switch the operating mode on the ikiwiki blog installation to accept posts via the web since I cannot log in right now via the usual SSH session. I’m ending up typing this on a Bluetooth keyboard connected to my iPad for pasting into an active web session.

I started off by trying to upgrade Xubuntu 19.04 to 19.10. The in-place upgrade initially looked like it went through without a hitch. The problem came with the reboot. The machine didn’t want to start! I was able to get it to boot in “Recovery Mode” and promptly exfiltrated as much data as I could.

I burned an ISO I downloaded during “Recovery Mode”. It was of Tuesday’s daily install image for Ubuntu MATE 19.10. I figured that would work to do a clean install. Unfortunately I could not get the ISO to actually boot. It would manage to get through a GRUB menu then halt and crash. That annoyed me greatly.

For the time being I am operating under the fall-back procedures where my iPad is my main computer device. After some sleep I will assess the laptop and determine my next steps. I think I should be able to get it to recover to a good point. Promises are not something I want to make at this stage, though.

Final release of 19.10 is set for Thursday. Hopefully I do not totally trash the laptop. I shudder at the thought of having to fall back to using a Pi-Top until economic circumstances improved.

Eventually I do need to hustle more on seeking work and clients who have work. An income is needed in due time again.

Ransomware Redux

Relevant Prior Post: RansomwareBites20191008

Previously I wrote concerning WWOW being literally off the air. The 1360 kilohertz radio dial spot still has no AM radio carrier at all. I finally found a “trades” story where somebody talks about the situation.

Purportedly the ransomware attack hit on October 5th. It is now very early on October 14th. That is very important when it comes to the rules of the Federal Communications Commission.

47 CFR 73.1740(a)(4) states:

In the event that causes beyond the control of a licensee make it impossible to adhere to the operating schedule of this section or to continue operating, the station may limit or discontinue operation for a period of not more than 30 days without further authority from the FCC. Notification must be sent to the FCC in Washington, D.C. not later than the 10th day of limited or discontinued operation. During such period, the licensee shall continue to adhere to the requirements in the station license pertaining to the lighting of antenna structures. In the event normal operation is restored prior to the expiration of the 30 day period, the licensee will so notify the FCC of this date. If the causes beyond the control of the licensee make it impossible to comply within the allowed period, informal written request shall be made to the FCC no later than the 30th day for such additional time as may be deemed necessary.

The key here is the 10 day mark. We have not hit that yet. A review of the license file does not show a notification being made early but the 10 day mark runs into Tuesday.

This is mightily bothersome.

Here’s what we have left for functioning radio stations in the Emergency Alert System net within Ashtabula County that I can identify:

  • WFUN — 970 kHz AM
  • WKSV — 89.1 MHz FM
  • WCVJ — 90.1 MHz FM
  • WREO — 97.1 MHz FM
  • WZOO — 102.5 MHz FM
  • WKKY — 104.7 MHz FM
  • WFXJ — 107.5 MHz FM
  • KEC58 — 162.400 MHz FM

As one might imagine, that is quite a subset of the list of stations shown in the Wikipedia listing of stations in the Ashtabula radio market.

I need to move some plans along based upon this.

A Thursday Night Miscellany

In no particular order:

  • I attended orientation today at a local gym. I only have a classic membership. This is part of treatment plan efforts. This is not nearly as extreme as what you might find on Reddit but has been discussed as supportive therapy track to be utilized.
  • WWOW was observed as still off the air today. This was discussed prior in RansomwareBites20191008.
  • As stated elsewhere: “Je ne travaille plus pour un homme qui pense que lui est un génie très stable.”
  • While out driving I heard on the radio about somebody actually doing the live news show idea that I had been proposing. Apparently it is not as outlandish as I thought.
  • Digital Audio Broadcasting via radio is apparently being pushed again. The United States of America (plus Canada and Mexico) is marching to its own drummer as it utilizes a standard that nobody else outside North America does. Technically there is only one HD Radio station near Ashtabula which is WKKY. Purportedly WKSV in Thompson is also an HD Radio broadcaster which should also be audible here. While WKKY uses HD Radio for high fidelity broadcasting it is generally used instead for signal multiplexing to pack more programs into a single signal. I’m not sure I want to buy new equipment to be able to listen to this.
  • Listening to the Ubuntu Podcast via Spotify is an interesting experience.
  • The non-podcast feeds source repository has been updated.
  • The podcast feeds source repository has been updated.
  • Mission to the Unknown is a lost Doctor Who episode that has been recreated by some students in England. I need to set aside time to watch this marvel.
  • I have to preach on Sunday. With luck I’ll be working on 1 Corinthians 9-10.
  • I am still wondering why the Spotify app updates Last.fm when I listen to a song but not when I listen to a podcast episode.
Ransomware Bites

At this point, WWOW is literally off the air. I like listening to that “oldies” format station on AM. I have mentioned before that WFUN locally had an “open carrier” problem broadcasting dead air over the weekend. In this case the 1360 kilohertz radio dial spot has no AM radio carrier at all.

I was able to finally reach somebody at the station on Monday. They were reluctant to state that they happened to be off the air due to ransomware taking down their computer systems. Unfortunately the broadcasting systems are almost entirely computer controlled and they don’t have analog backups or the staffing to cover that around the clock. I was given an Expected Time of Recovery of this weekend but I remain concerned.

The most recent available Emergency Alert System plan for Ohio relative to the Central & East Lakeshore area shows WWOW as a participating station. The station does show daytime and nighttime licensing in the Federal Communications Commission AM query. A search of applications related to the callsign do not show an on-file request for Special Temporary Authority to run silent in the intervening time while they respond to the ransomware problem. General guidance is available from the FCC relative to running silent.

Previously I have made mention of various proposed media efforts. During the discussion and drawing board phases the concern most frequently raised by reviewers was the hope that the media landscape in Ashtabula County happened to be stable. Between the recurrent unexplained silent periods on WFUN and now this mishap at WWOW, I stand more on the viewpoint that the media landscape is shrinking locally and is changing in ways that are not for the better.

Good Luck & Good Hunting to the folks at WWOW. I daresay someone might want to risk a freeform format station in this county. I’m not sure who could afford to do that, though.

The Open Carrier Problem

One of the local radio stations broadcast “dead air” on Saturday night. Techncially that is called broadcasting an “open carrier”. Around 1930 ET WFUN went silent and broadcast an open carrier. That persisted for at least half an hour.

Why is this a problem? WFUN is a participating station in the Emergency Alert System per guidance available from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. A problem like this should be corrected immediately instead of being allowed to persist for half an hour on a Saturday night. If there was an Emergency Alert System activation for something like an Amber Alert or a severe weather event the alert quite possibly would not have actually gone out on the station. The station is not a “Local Primary” or “State Primary” station for message origination in the plan.

However, that station is owned in a cluster with five other stations. I didn’t check the other five to see if their programming was disrupted too. If the programming was disrupted on WFUN the computer systems feeding the other transmitters are not necessarily well-separated and could go down just as easily. This is a commercial operation rather than Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

WKKY is currently back as participating in the Emergency Alert System plan. There have been times where various stations in the county have dropped out of the plan as non-participating for all sorts of reasons yet return later. The translators for the national religious broadcasting networks do not all show in the Emergency Alert System plan.

There are no local television stations. NOAA Weather Radio reception is still a mess due to rampant radio frequency intereference. Wireless Emergency Alerts are subject to obershoot problems due to significant spacing between towers out here.

This isn’t the back of beyond. This isn’t the Australian outback. This is rural America.

It is almost as if we have a problem or something…

Situational Clarification

Yes, that was me reappearing after an absence of just over five years on IRC. Yes, I did in fact utter an old-time TV catch phrase that should be recognizable.

No, I’m certainly not answering the phone now. That is to say, I am not answering the phone on behalf of others now. It is not as if it is a calamity but a change had to come about. Goodbyes were said but were quieter than what others might engage in.

Change begins. It seems a bit late to contribute to the Eoan cycle. As to the F cycle I am back in a position I haven’t been in a for a few years. This could be interesting, I suppose.

I do have some film editing I eventually have to get finished too, I suppose…

A Quote

”There will be good moments, and there will be less good moments.” — Donald Rumsfeld (1932-), 13th & 21st US Secretary of Defense

Banal Blogger Beeswax

Please do understand that writing can be a form of therapy. Nothing compels you to read this. Keeping this confined to its own little corner of the Internet rather than spreading it on social networks helps respect others by preventing unnecessary intrusions into their lives.

Sometimes there will be more written. Sometimes there will be droughts. We will see what arises.

Radio Blast From The Past

While out on Interstate Route 90 making the big drive tonight I happened to flip around stations on the presets in the Subaru Outback. I dwelled on WYSU and happened to hear Jessamyn West talking about the dreaded digital divide. I don’t have the surviving episodes of LISTen: An LISNews.org Program found at the Internet Archive sufficiently cataloged & indexed to be able to see if any of the old interviews with Jessamyn survived let alone of the times that I talked about the digital divide myself.

I miss being in and around library land. While I undertake librarian-like tasks on the phones at work collecting taxes it just isn’t the same thing. Without an earned second graduate degree in a teaching area I cannot return, unfortuantely. The chances of that being secured any time soon are not looking very good.

This blog is powered by ikiwiki and serves the purposes of Erie Looking Productions as well as its proprietor Stephen Michael Kellat.

BOFH excuse #175:

OS swapped to disk