Coyote Works

The Result Of The Interim Blog Reset

Mid-September Seasonal Update

Mon Sep 13 04:07:54 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

Rather than a bullet point list I will just be brief. The ballots are posted for the November 2nd general election and I’m still trying to wrap my head around seeing my name appear on the ballot. The odds are not in my favor on this but I will do what I can to see this through.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time away from computers. Why? Well, I’ve been in the woods looking for things throughout Indian Trails Park. The Ashtabula River gulf area has many mysteries within it that frankly cannot be explained.

The situation locally is starting to get a bit out of control. It is very hard to conduct a political campaign with the coronavirus situation in our local hospitals getting bad to the point that we are seeing overload intensive care units in one part of the state. The arguments over the use of the law to deal with the pandemic are simply overwhelming.

Things will eventually straighten out, I hope. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be in the immediate forecast. Rough waters remain ahead.

Tags: Life

Late August Update

Sun Aug 22 13:41:40 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

You know you’ve been busy when it has been almost an entire month since you’ve made a blog post. Reducing things to bullet points (give or take) may prove best. In no particular order:

  • I learned about edbrowse from the latest episode of the Ubuntu Podcast. If I ever wind up using an actual teletype for a terminal that might be quite handy.

  • Work continues on a provisional effort to rig up something for podcasting using a static site generator. Someone already started the work in jekyll and put it on GitHub. Now the name of the game is adapting what they did to suit my purposes.

  • The testing manifest for Impish Indri shows only vanilla Ubuntu desktop shipping an image for Raspberry Pi. Considering my working “desktop” at the moment is a Raspberry Pi 4, any testing efforts on my part may wind up limited as I do not normally test vanilla Ubuntu desktop.

  • There are initial concepts for the fourth story roughly developed. I’m not quite sure where they might lead. Further development is required.

  • Campaigning? What campaigning? That’s not quite in progress in any traditional sense. The delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is forcing non-traditional directions to all that, too.

  • Something akin to a DECwriter or TI Silent 700 mated to a Raspberry Pi would allow for some computing access if I wind up getting significant eye strain from seeing too many computer screens…again. It feels weird to even be thinking about such things.

  • Things can improve no matter how bleak the world around us looks. It was fairly shocking Saturday to see how desensitized people had become to disasters. A nasty hurricane was bearing down on New York City and New England yet it was being ignored by the main news media outlets.

  • I am spending quite a bit of time using PublicRadioFan.com to find streams to listen to. More people should make use of it.

Tags: Life

Late July Update

Fri Jul 23 12:09:47 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

In no particular order:

  • The podcast feeds repository has seen some updates. Yes, I am a bit odd in primarily consuming podcasts via the podcasts app on my Apple TV device. Life changes and right now my circumstances are quite different than they used to be. Getting AntennaPod back on my mobile device is not a high priority considering how flaky the phone continues to be.
  • A test printing was done using the work-in-progress code from the auto-newspaper repository. Moving to just printing a single leaf of “Legal” sized paper would not be all that much. Considering the growing niche that needs filling that may be enough to start with. There is a running discussion in the repo as to how this has all been developing over time.
  • In the alternative to the “underground newspaper” notion there would be the thought of going back to podcasting. I’m not too keen on that thought especially as this would be focusing on video production these days. At the least I would need to launder segments of Profile America via some prestidigitation with ffmpeg into being video files as initial building blocks. At the very least I did start scripting out how to grab real fast from the relevant FTP site the useful data to read out a weather report. Pulling some material from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service as to the Ohio National Guard would provide public domain content as to state-level news through VNRs. It sounds like I almost have this planned out except for hosting, actually.
  • My literal stack of Raspberry Pi units is back up and running. That puts me at five operational in the house at the moment. They aren’t clustered at this time. I probably should do that though I would need to decide on a mission profile.
  • A review of the Internal Revenue Service characteristics list for what makes a “church” as seen on their website is being done on my part. Why? It is a “facts and circumstances” test that a certain group in my country’s civil society is meeting. That that is happening has disturbing implications that I am trying to better understand.
  • People are baffled by the change in name of the Cleveland baseball team to being the “Guardians”. Ideastream posted a story about the statues the team is being named in honor of. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History also discusses the art deco designs. Frankly they are awesome bits of art from the Great Depression that remain with us today and feature in many neat sunrise and sunset photographs.

Tags: Life

Wrapping Up June 2021

Wed Jun 30 00:28:37 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

In no particular order:

  • My author copies of the third novella have shown up finally. I am pleased with how they turned out. The next item is likely to go in a different direction. It may build off a tabletop exercie scenario potentially. We’ll see what happens.
  • My laptop did not pass the test for Windows 11 upgrade readiness. I don’t think I have anything that meets the bar for that. While I need to have at least one foot in the Windows world due to the various bits of proprietary Windows-only software mandated by the state government upon local governments I don’t have to like the situation.
  • Use of an SDR dongle is a bit rougher at my home than I would have thought. The local environment is very challenging when it comes to electrical smog.

Tags: Life

Pondering the News Biz

Sun Mar 28 18:11:16 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

Sometimes the news about the business of news gets rather weird. There was a very brief news item on NPR’s Weekend Edition that mentioned a newspaper in Kansas City that published a blank front page. The Kansas City Star reported that it was not them that did it and explained which local weekly paper engaged in the stunt to highlight its dire economic condition.

That’s one end of the odd news. In another respect there were posts on Twitter by Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi highlighting an article in the New York Times entitled On Google Podcasts, a Buffet of Hate. The paradigm of podcasting appears to be facing interesting threats that I don’t think anybody ever anticipated. I do think the pop culture reporter at the Times would be rather shocked to learn of an extremely broad world of podcast applications beyond Google Podcasts. Considering what he covers he certainly should know these things yet this horribly slanted piece gets published denigrating podcasting. Very odd.

Why bring this up at all? My local area has difficulties in terms of getting the word out about anything to people let alone providing news coverage to mass audiences. Things that once would have been covered by news reporters nowadays simply proceed unnoticed and unremarked.

Part of the problem is that Ashtabula County is an area that could be fairly described as economically disadvantaged. The most recent county profile data from the Ohio Development Services Agency indicates:

  • The projected 2020 population is roughly above 95,000 and is projected to fall to 89,700 by 2030.

  • The local population is predominantly white with only 10.3% of the population found to be minorities.

  • The median age is 42.4 years old.

  • Out of the county population 25 years old and older the portion without a high school diploma is 14%

  • 7.8% of the 25 or older population have a two year undergraduate degree

  • 9.2% of the 25 or older population have a four year undergraduate degree

  • 4.9% of the 25 or older population have a master’s degree or higher

  • The single daily newspaper in the county has a circulation of just 7,500.

  • The four weekly newspapers in the county have a combined circulation of 11,200.

  • There is no local television station. There are eight radio stations. Beyond the ODSA report and based upon my own observations none of the eight originate any local news reports.

This does not create a stable environment for information to get around. With low newspaper readership and no other coverage of local news the only way people find out about what is happening locally is seemingly by the dreaded Facebook. Yes, that particular echo chamber that helped bring us the events of January 6th.

Starting a competing newspaper is not an easy proposition economically right now. The idea driving the project to set things up in LaTeX as much as possible is not to be ornery and difficult but to be able to cut costs. Spending the time to do page layout costs money which is scarce. Reverting to a sort of 19th century layout style would allow for automated layout, easier ingestion of material through various CTAN packages, and other remove some human capital costs. Making it easier to ingest wire service-like content from sources like the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service and Ohio News Connection/Public News Service would ensure that that sort of content was there so that human capital could be spent on chasing down local stories. There would be other things to be hammered out such as finding commercial printing but theoretically this would be doable to launch. The question would be if anybody would actually read it in the current social climate.

While it would be awesome to see such a thing happen there is no way to duplicate having a station like KVZK-TV to provide television service for Ashtabula County. Depending upon where you live in the county you receive television signals from metro Cleveland, metro Youngstown, or Erie, Pennsylvania. Stations in those commnities don’t really cover Ashtabula much. Nielsen claims Ashtabula County is part of the “Designated Market Area” for Cleveland but the over the air signals of the Cleveland stations don’t actually reach out here.

I wish I could say that a streaming solution of some sort would easily handle all the current affairs and news needs in my local area. The coronavirus crisis has shown how bad the broadband situation is across the United States. A story from WKSU-FM explicitly talks about how remote learning for K-12 students has failed locally due to our broadband service being unable to meet needs. I am a frequent attendee of Ashtabula County Broadband Taskforce meetings where we look for solutions to try to make things better. There are no easy fixes in sight, though.

People getting the majority of their news from Facebook on a cell phone is detrimental to social cohesion as we’ve learned the hard way in the USA. I participated in the NORC 2020 Election Research Project that looked at the impact of social media on elections and am very eager to see their report later this year. With so much happening in my local community that is not being covered.

When one of your biggest stories in your local newspaper’s weekend edition is the school board president finding somebody’s missing dentures then perhaps something has gone horribly wrong with the local media. We may not be printing blank front pages here but the local daily newspaper is not too healthy operationally, it seems. Something needs to be done.

As I finish this up the lights just flickered out and the UPS units just screamed thanks to the wind storm we’re having at the moment. We’re not high enough up the ladder scaling Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs locally. There is no easy answer to any of this which is why it seems like I appear stuck with the problem. Eventually clarity will dawn.

Tags: Issues, Life, Social Matters

Fiddling and Customizing

Thu Mar 25 00:25:46 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

I can’t quite sleep at the moment as I am trying to process some events that took place on Wednesday. I have to reassess where things stand in some cases. While it did not happen directly to me I will say that The Event was not a good one.

Presently I am blogging using the bashblog script by Carlos Fenollosa. It is very barebones and right now that’s exactly what I need. I did some fiddling and through the use of the Google Web Fonts API ended up deploying the Public Sans font instead of the default now. That will give it a far more striking look than the previous font selection.

Blogging remains a key way to keep up with me. The Twitter account is likely not the most informative and the Identica account randomly disappears into the Bermuda Triangle. There is not a LaTeX2e-based social network to the best of my knowledge.

While more could likely be said that simply would not be prudent at this time.

Tags: Life

Taking Stock In Late March 2021

Mon Mar 22 20:16:47 2021 — Stephen Michael Kellat

Things have been a bit strange. Looking at things in an itemized fashion but in no particular order:

More could be said but right now it wouldn’t be prudent.

Tags: Life