August 2018

Oh, this brings back memories…


…except that at our house, it was the dishwasher, and it took us half an hour to figure out where the muffled, plaintive meows were coming from.

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Carr fire cause


I had been wondering what the “vehicle mechanical failure” was that caused the fire that has so far destroyed over 135,000 acres around Redding. The answer? A flat tire. Rim scrapes asphalt, throws sparks into dry brush, whoosh.

In other news, the Mendocino Complex fire is up to 229,000 acres.

Celebrate Diversity


Roy G. Biv hardest hit.

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Cunning plans…


You know how extremists, wackjobs, and conspiracy theorists use claims of persecution to attract new followers?

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Maybe encouraging giant corporations to publicly prove them right is a bad idea? Setting aside the betrayal of our society’s principles, it’s just tactically unsound.

“First they came for Alex Jones, and I said nothing, because I knew they’d attack anyone who defended his right to speak nonsense.”

Well, that explains the masks…


Berkeley PD posts unmasked pictures of communist shock troops arrested at their latest violent protest.

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3D Cheesecake 8


I refuse to leave those Antifa mugshots as the top picture any longer.

Names when I get a chance, as usual.

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Unclear on the concept…


Mecha-musume: you’re doing it wrong.

“I Am A Girl”


Fun with dust jackets:

Left to right, that’s:

  • Orihime And Juliet
  • Naked Old Man
  • I Am A Girl
  • Run, Dog!
  • Matasaburō Searches For Mama

(that last one is a bit incoherent, because the mashup is 3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother (featuring a Sheena Easton theme song!) and Matasaburō Of The Wind)

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Dear Amazon,


I wasn’t aware that “self-help” included shibari, but this wouldn’t be the first time your recommendations got a bit kinky

No Man’s Sky language-switcher


After the latest mildly-hyped upgrade, how is No Man’s Sky? It’s an early beta of a half-decent $20 indie game, currently marked down to $30 on sale for $60. With some mods (Faster Walk, Faster Scan, and Reduced Launch Cost, at a minimum) and the save editor, you can work around most of the remaining design flaws and bugs, making it possible to see the originally-promised game off in the distance.

Still plenty of deliberate user-hostile design decisions, including some brand new ones (like stretching out the limited quest content by adding real-time delays between each step in a chain, ranging from 1 to 6 hours (!)).

Modding is still possible, in a fragile, clunky way, but one early mod that I liked hasn’t worked for a long time: changing the suit audio to Japanese.

With some hints from one of the forums and a copy of Sony’s PSARC tool, I was able to come up with a crude but functional method to generate a working mod for any of the supported languages. All of the other languages seem to be quieter than the English voice, but that’s actually a bonus, given how annoying the damn thing can be.

Edit to set the location of your game data and psarc, choose your standard language and what you want to replace it with, and run the script. It will chug for about 5 10 minutes extracting the language-specific audio from the right PAK file, then repack them under the localized language patha. The resulting mod is about 4 8 megabytes.

Releasing it as a batch file not only avoids the copyright problem that helped sink the original mod, but also allows you to apply any of the 14 supplied localizations to any other, so someone playing the game in Korean could have a Polish space suit, for instance.

[Update: Oh, FFS, NMS! You changed the paths for all the audio files between 1.55 and 1.57? Are you all descended from the surviving deck-chair-rearrangers on the Titanic?

…and now replaced with a more robust version that will be easier to fix the next time they move everything around.]

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Pixiv: Azur Lane


All I know about the mobile game Azur Lane is that it’s causing a new flood of shipgirl cheesecake. That’s not a complaint.

[oddly, this image has been deleted from Pixiv, so I can’t link back to the creator. Unfortunately, my SQLite cache doesn’t have author IDs in it.]

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Motorcycle headlights


Chinese model/chatgirl Faye Lau (刘飞儿) is extremely cute. That is all.

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-dSAFER considered harmful…


When L. Peter Deutsch first added the file I/O operators to Ghostscript (1992?), I submitted a security patch to disable them by default, requiring you to use -dUNSAFE to enable them. He accepted the patch but reversed the logic, enabling them unless you provided the -dSAFER option. I no longer remember precisely how he handwaved away my concerns in his email, but it doesn’t matter.

I was right then, and I’m still right.

(At the same time, I also submitted a patch to the crude -dASCIIOUT option to make it possible to extract the text correctly and post-process it into a document that preserved formatting pretty well, but he only accepted half of it, because he was concerned that adding a Perl script to the base distribution would impair its portability…)

Fun with dotfiles


When booting OpenBSD 6.3 (at least), the /etc/rc startup script reads /root/.profile. This can produce some rather entertaining boot failures, including things like syslogd timing out on startup, preventing you from getting any log data about what might be wrong…

I’m quite certain this wasn’t the case in earlier releases, but I’m not sure when it crept in.

# Simple confirmation:
echo sleep 60 >> /root/.profile
reboot
# It will take an extra ~8 minutes to boot

It looks like they try to work around this by setting HOME=/ in /etc/rc, and having a separate /.profile, but it doesn’t work; it still reads /root/.profile.

Ah, there it is! /etc/rc.d/rc.subr:

...
rc_start() {
        ${rcexec} "${daemon} ${daemon_flags}"
}

...

[ -z "${daemon_user}" ] && daemon_user=root

...

rcexec="su -l -c ${daemon_class} -s /bin/sh ${daemon_user} -c"

So, anything executed from a proper start/stop rc script gets executed in a fresh su -l session (even if it’s running as root), and that resets $HOME.

The machine I was upgrading pre-dates the rc.d scripts, so it didn’t have the problem.

Refrigerate After Opening


When you’ve hired a top model for the whole day, but run out of photo ideas, of course you put her in the pantry. Although, honestly, I see a box of Jell-O in there, so if you need inspiration…

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“You stay classy, NYT”


NYT McCain obit all about Trump.

Shōwa versus Heisei


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On February 24th, we find out what comes next; despite the boost it would produce for the Olympics, I suspect it won’t be the Nekomimi era.

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One of these things is not like the other…


Canonical Soundtrack:

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“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”