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…

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…

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.

Posted
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/.
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.
Posted
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/.
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.

Posted
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/.
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.

Posted
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/.
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.

Posted
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/.
Prayer Needs

Even though it feels at points as if nobody reads this, I did want to communicate that there are prayer needs on the homefront. Things are most definitely not okay. In no particular order:

  • One younger sibling has a cancerous lesion on a kidney and will be confronting surgery in November to have that handled.
  • My father just had to have a computer-aided tomography scan to see if the prostate cancer is coming back. No, we do not have results yet. I only just drove him to the test on Friday.
  • I can’t find peace. Even though I am working on building up the number of therapy pathways I’m having very bad mental health days that are getting worse. When you don’t have mental health issues in check that can lead to physical health deteriorating which in my case it has.
  • I’ve been getting very anxious and afraid lately. Slowly but surely I’ve been eliminating any general online presence for myself and have left mostly specialized presences up such as my LibraryThing profile, my somewhat incorrect subscriptions page on gpodder.net that may be supplanted in terms of correctness by a certain git repository, my git repositories on Launchpad, a user profile on Telegram, the Erie Looking Productions website which needs upgrading, and the still-running experiment known as my Identica pump.io profile.

If you’re of the praying type, please pray. There is plenty of storm and stress at the moment.

Posted
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/.
Assessing Cord Cutting

Well, the issue of cord-cutting has been brought up again at home. Costs are often a factor when evaluating services. Living in rural USA also means that choice of services is either limited or non-existent. Considering the number of shows/programs that family members are interested in that are available from different paid streaming services that don’t overlap, I wind up looking at a potential bill like this:


Hulu $7.99
Netflix $10.99
HBO Now $14.99
Apple TV+ $4.99
Disney+ $6.99
Amazon Prime Video $8.99
Total (Not including any applicable taxes) $54.94


The universe of streaming services was discussed in Streamings20190921 by me most recently. Prices shown above are likely subject to change and were current as of when I located them earlier today. Currently I do not have any updates about possible further increases in the Monthly Recurring Charge from Spectrum for cable broadband. That’s currently holding at $69.99 per month. In the end we would be looking at a total Monthly Recurring Charge of $124.93 before taxes for video entertainment plus broadband. Unfortunately the broadband service has trouble with maintaining consistency with streams. That is to say, how many different ways can we say “buffering”?

And then to see OMG! Ubuntu! mention today that Disney+ won’t support Linux adds to why I’m having trouble with the whole notion of shifting to streaming.

For now, I have one antenna mast working somewhat correctly. RF propagation has been problematical so we have only been receiving a few stations out of Erie, Pennsylvania. If we had to drop our current service from DirecTV and cut down the level of our cable broadband I would be happy to stick with basic broadcast. Right now the basic broadcasts out of Erie have some things DirecTV doesn’t carry such as Laff, Dabl, Comet, Court TV Mystery, and Cozi TV.

There are economic shifts afoot. In lieu of investing in streaming I have been leaning towards investing in cabinetry instead. Why? It feels at times like I could start my own “video store” with the DVD collection on-hand. Rural life does require some trade-offs it seems.

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$$$$$$$$$$$$@$$$$M$WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW|
|MWMMMWMMWWMMMMMMMMWMWMMMMWMMMWMMWWWMMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMMMWMMWWMWMWMMMWMWMMMWMWM|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#@^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^##^^^^^^^#^^^^#^#^^^^^##^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@@$$$^#$@$#^$$$@$$^#$@@@$$@$^^@$@$@$$^@$$@$@$$@$@@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^###^^^^^^^^^^^#^#^^#^^^#####^^#^^^#^^##^^#^^#^####^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@@@$$$$$$@$@$^#@@$^#$#@M@@$$@$$@@$$@@$@^^#$@$#$@$@$@$#^@@@@@@$@^^^^^^^^|
|^^#^^^^^^##@#^^^#^###^^#^##^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^#$$@^@$@$@@$@$@$$@$@$$$$$$$@#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
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|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^##^#^^##^^#^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^##^###^^#^##^#^^^##^^^#^#^#^##^^##^#^#^^^^#^^^^#^^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^##^^^#^^#^^##^#^^#^#^^^^#^^#^#^#^^^^#^^#^^^#^^#^#^^^#^^^#^#^#^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^#^^##^^^^####^#######^^^#####^^###^^#^^##^##^#^##^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^###@@####^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^#^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^#^###^##^#^#^^#^#^#^####^^#^#^##^#^#^#^^#^^#^^##^^#^#^##^^#^^^^^^^^^^^#^|
|^#^#^^^^#^^#^#^#^#^#^#^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^^^^^|
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^#^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^#^^^^^#^^^^^^|
+–––––––––––––––––––––––––+

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.

Posted
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/.
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.