**** Cyborg Central ****

Old Androids Never Die, They Just Have A Few Screws Loose

Wish It Were Different

April 5, 2020


If it proves nothing else, this pandemic has demonstrated that people aren't really dying from sickness, they're actually dying because there's not enough dollars, and people refuse to work together without dollars being involved.

We could be making enough masks and ventilators. We could be graduating doctors, training nurses, building hospitals. We could be doing the work necessary to cure this virus (and every other disease...) free of the chains of patents, business strategies like artificial scarcity, intentional overcomplication of claims systems, and patient gouging.

But this situation makes it clear, there are many people who won't work together unless they get dollars for it, even if it saves their own lives later on down the road.


ToxicUsers

March 11, 2020


I'm going to write some code to analyze Twitter, and see if the "Bernie Bro" is genuinely worse than any other toxic user on the site.

Follow my work here. If you'd like to contribute, please contact me!


How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats - The New York Times

February 10, 2020


TL;DR version: the Dem caucuses have been a complete and total clusterfuck since forever, and you're only just noticing because they tried to modernize something. Most of the people who run it are baby-boomer volunteers who don't know which side of the tablet is the screen. :|

The problems that beset the Democratic Party's first state caucus of the presidential race ran far deeper and wider than one bad app.

Source: How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats - The New York Times


Sunday 4

February 9, 2020


New thing to do: One game each of

Overwatch: Win
Counterstrike: Lose
Vainglory: Win
League: Lose

Practice makes perfect.


Politics Are Disgusting

January 29, 2020


Today has been a nasty week.

Between a two-day running argument with a group calling themselves "Anarcho-Capitalists" ending in the revelation that a rape victim in their utopia would have to self-fund her own justice, and listening to someone I normally trust go hardline-centrist for no apparent reason, I am mentally exhausted already.

This "ancap" thing is absolutely disgusting. These people consider theft the worst crime possible - worse than rape, worse than murder, worse than vigilantism, worse than any organized crime - and would rather have all of those crimes be acceptable (not legal, as there is no law to speak of in this utopia, just "pacts" with nothing but self-enforcement) than pay any tax at all. It strikes me as an odd form of Amish-style beliefs, except they've chosen 1865 instead of 1765 as their artificial line in the sands of time.

It is insanity of the highest order.

The second issue is much simpler - someone with a long history of being on the right side of things - domestic spying, data security, those kinds of things - is having a meltdown because her favorite Democratic candidate is not doing so well in polls, and she can't accept it, so she's turning the Russian Paranoia Volume control to 11.

She's entitled to her opinion of anyone and everyone, but she's wrong about the people she's accusing of plotting with Russia. The main problem I have with it is that, even if these people were natural-born Russians living in Russia and publicly KGB members, that doesn't make the things they've leaked untrue. Whether discovered by a white-hat friend or a black-hat enemy, a flaw is still a flaw, and ultimately the responsibility for it rests on the implementer, i.e. US.


Oops, sorry coach, I missed the shot

January 19, 2020


So, gruesome but (maybe) amusing thought:

You know how back in gym class, if you didn't want to participate, it was easiest to get out of it by being really, really bad at the sport and getting your team angry at you by playing badly?

Wonder how well that would work at a gun range....


Sometimes, I don't know why I bother

January 17, 2020


So here we have the GLUON robot arm kickstarter, which looked like a pretty damn cool toy at an amazing price. Of course, it was too good to be true, and yet another kickstarter ends up being ruined with no recourse and no explanation from anyone involved.

This officially puts my Kickstarter record at more disappointments than happy endings, so I'm done backing anything, I think.


Sigh

January 6, 2020


Don't believe the nasty stereotypes about male gamers being pigs?

Try reading the chat during a woman's yoga stream on Twitch.


Static App Images Are Hard To Update

December 11, 2019


I was looking at anbox - a neat little program for running Android applications on Ubuntu - and was a bit unhappy to see that it was only supported on LTS releases, primarily because of kernel modules that aren't actually part of the snap package in which it's distributed. We're told that static images are supposed to fix dependency problems, and let you run programs built on one distro easily on another, but it's not quite the case, is it?

One of the nice side effects of having your application be part of a distro's package set is that it has to stay current to stay supported - that is, as the distro moves forward, your application must by necessity at least be rebuilt against new versions of dependencies. Static application images (like snaps, flatpack, and appimages) supposedly give the developer the luxury of not having to care about the underlying distro, and this is great - for them - if they can't, or won't, spend the time to keep their application up to date with the distros they support.

For users? Not so great, especially if the application has unspoken dependencies, like specific kernel or GPU driver features, or security problems.

Games are often one of the examples given in favor of statically packaged software, but they are also some of the most fragile software there is. A tiny variance between driver levels can turn into a major problem, either slowing the game to a crawl, or crashing it outright, and the developer - if they want to be responsible, of course - still has to test their game on all these variations, so much of the supposed benefit to static packaging is lost.

Security is another major problem, not only because it demands that the developer constantly update their dependencies themselves, it also means that if the developer doesn't keep up, while your distro itself may be secure, your applications may not be, so that old, reliable end-to-end encryption app you've used for months (and hasn't been updated for that long) has a fat stack of CVEs sitting in it, and you have no way to mitigate them.

Some of the static packaging solutions talk about security sandboxes, but when that sandbox includes your personal data, after a security incident, it will come as little consolation that the OS went untouched.

Lastly, a large number of statically-packaged applications may be violating the LGPL by shipping un-modifiable versions of LGPL libraries. You have the right to rebuild and replace LGPL libraries with your own versions; if the application is contained in an unmodifiable static image, you've lost this right. Maybe you don't care that much, but when that one-shot dev stops maintaining an app you depend on, lack of access and rebuildability will hurt.

Ultimately, I feel that the supposed benefits of static packaging are very underwhelming relative to the serious drawbacks they still have.