“Saying ‘I believe in science,’ is really just a shorthand way of saying, ‘I have a degree in the humanities.’”

— Robert Tracinski, spanking Elizabeth Warren

Mister Doctor Strange

Let’s Play Doctor

Quite a few people are pointing and laughing at Jill Biden for insisting on being addressed as “Doctor”. Rest assured that this is not a personal quirk. Many years ago, I learned that everyone with an Education doctorate does this; it’s the quickest, most reliable way to confirm that you’re not dealing with someone who has a PhD.

Dear Apple,

Stop demanding I log back in on all of my devices every week or so. I’m getting really sick of re-entering my long, secure password at least twice (email, icloud, app store) on every Apple device I own, including the watch (which actually forces me to type it in on my phone, but without the usual keyboard UI or the ability to cut-and-paste from my secure password vault).

Social Distancing

I went to the dentist today, and they asked if I’d been in contact with anyone who’d been exposed to Corona-chan. I said they could have ended that question a few words earlier, since I haven’t been in contact with anyone for months.

It’s just me and Porch Cat Prime.

This, by the way, was shot on my Sony A-6500 with the old Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5 lens, using the EA4 mount adapter. This is the more expensive adapter that steals 1/3 stop of light to deliver autofocus with A-mount lenses made all the way back in the Eighties, so with the APS-C sensor, effectively it’s a 40-200mm f/4.5-5 lens.

In many ways, I’d prefer this as a travel lens over my shiny modern Sony 18-105mm f/4, even though the Sony has in-lens stabilization, faster and quieter focus, the ability to extend its range to 210mm with Sony’s “ClearImage” digital zoom, and is lighter and shorter. When I next go to Japan, though, I’ll take the Sony, and either try out ClearImage or switch to my little WX800 when I want to really zoom in (720mm equivalent, usable with the built-in stabilization and automatic multi-shot noise-reduction or anti-blur turned on). One less thing to juggle on an international trip.

Now all I need is the ability to travel…

Samurai Redressed

For once, 2020 has delivered some good news, namely that Jacqui Carey’s new book on samurai armor braids has finally been released.

I’m not a big fan of Adobe Digital Editions installing DRM crap on my laptop, but Carey’s books have been heavily pirated around the world, so I understand her caution.


Bought my copy this morning. It’s 129 MB on disk (376 pages), which is good for the quality of the photos and illustrations, and bad for the performance of Adobe’s extremely limited reader application. I’m used to being able to scroll through PDF files in something approximating real time, and Adobe clearly is not interested in that.

Hopefully it will eventually be released on dead trees, for greater usability.

Performance Issues

Adobe’s client is significantly faster on my iPad Mini than on my MacBook Air. Still incredibly limited in functionality, and I had to force-quit it to fix a spontaneous zoom-to-tinyfonts issue, but it at least changes pages at a consistent speed. File under “baffling” the fact that the Mac client isn’t capable of displaying two pages side-by-side, something I’d consider pretty basic functionality for a PDF viewer on modern wide-screen displays.

Pixiv: before sex

I’m not sure why Pixiv users tag pictures ‘before sex’ (事前, literally ‘prior to’); aren’t they all? Maybe it’s just for the ones where the characters know about it…

Unrelated, Solo Leveling

(no, not that way…)

Official English versions of this popular Korean fantasy story are scheduled to be released early in 2021 by Yen Press. Light novel, January 19th; manga adaptation, February 23rd. Hopefully they won’t meet the same fate as some other Yen Press titles that are inexplicably not available for Kindle. (all the missing titles seem to be available on BookWalker, although at higher prices)

Unrelated, “fuck you, readline devs”

I hates me some workflow-breaking changes to default behaviors in a new release, buried at the end of the release notes of a project that got silently upgraded as a dependency:

This document details the changes between this version, readline-8.1, and the previous version, readline-8.0.

2. New Features in Readline

h. Bracketed paste mode is enabled by default.

To which my answer is:

echo set enable-bracketed-paste off >> ~/.inputrc
bind -f ~/.inputrc

I’ve been cutting and pasting commands into terminal windows for many, many years. 99.9% of the time, when I paste something with newline characters in it, it’s because I want the shell to see the damn newlines and execute the damn commands.

Today Years Old…

“Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy”

For decades, I had no idea what this line was.

Sometimes, ‘before sex’ isn’t a good thing…

But usually…


“Maybe she’s a Spice Girl”

What fresh new hell is this?

One of my neighbors has put up an outdoor Christmas light system that plays music all night long.

Single-channel, 8-bit, square-wave. Apple II games had better sound.

Slice(r) of life

I’ve gotten no love from the folks at Dremel about the layer-shift problem I ran into a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten responses, but they just consisted of “pics or it didn’t happen”. I had already thrown out the bad prints, and I haven’t gotten around to shaking my printer again, so the simple, detailed repeat-by I sent is unlikely to be fixed until they pull a few years of upstream Cura code into their slicer.

So, I finally sat down and started building profiles for PrusaSlicer, which is a supported version of the open source Slic3r package that hasn’t had a release for a few years. I’m getting as-good-or-better results that take slightly longer, and I knocked together a quick gcode post-processor that inserts the timing comments the Dremel firmware uses to update the display and API with “time remaining”. As a bonus, PrusaSlicer seems to be a lot more accurate with its timing estimates. I need to work out the inheritance features so I can bundle all the settings into one file without a lot of duplication, and then do some testing to improve the results.

On the bright side, Dremel did follow up on the promise to send me two free spools of PLA for posting a review of the 3D45. They’re the older half-kilo spools, but don’t look a gift filament in the extruder.

The Boys: dropped

I tried watching again, about two-thirds of an episode at a time. Somewhere in episode 5, I got tired of the subtle-as-an-explosive-brick social commentary, so I switched to just reading the episode summaries on a wiki. Kind of glad I did, because apparently season one is subtle for these people. Now that I know where it’s going, I doubt I’ll give it another chance.

Final take: Karl Urban has a great deal of fun playing Butcher, but Frenchie gets all the best lines.

The word for the day is ‘tolerance’

…as in, “I designed these parts without any tolerance for variations between 3D printers and user settings, assuming that minimal clearance Will Just Work” (inside part: 25.8mm, outside part: 25.804mm). Given how long it takes to print the average object downloaded from Thingy, I recommend testing all allegedly-interlocking STL files in an app that has a measure function (Meshmixer is free, although the UI, documentation, and functionality are all quirky).

(would you call these “mating surfaces”? 😁)

Genshin Boredom

I haven’t actually played Genshin Impact for about two weeks. I was just logging in, claiming daily freebies until I had enough for another 10x gacha pull, which gave me another character to level up. Which I don’t want to do, because I hit a catch-22: I can’t level any of my other party members above 40 without materials that can only be extracted from specific hard-to-kill bosses. Who would have been easier to kill if I’d gone after them before progressing the main story far enough to level all the monsters in the world.

There’s no other way to get those specific mats. The fights are do-it-again-stupid tedious and difficult with a party that’s underleveled. And I can’t even do the next stage of the story without significant grinding to unlock it.

The solution is to play online with random strangers. Or stop playing. I prefer the latter.

“The DNC went down to Georgia…”

🎶 …they was lookin’ for some votes to steal.
They was in a bind, ’cause they was way behind,
runnin’ a houseplant with no appeal. 🎶

To pet or not to pet…

I’m not saying I have a cat, but Porch Cat Prime spent three hours sleeping on my chest yesterday, waking up several times to attempt to groom my beard.

Dear Amazon,

Recently when I’ve tried to look up something that I ordered a while ago, the link I get back is for a page in the Amazon Fresh section, with a warning that it’s not available in my area. None of these items were purchased through Amazon Fresh, and aren’t even appropriate for it (such as the plastic calipers I linked to earlier (which, by the way, are crap, but good enough for simple uses like checking for consistent widths)). I have to search for the product again to get a link I can actually buy or send to someone.

Georgia Suitcase Ballots

This is the name of my new Dixiepunk band. We’ll start rehearsing when and if the Democrats let us out of our homes again.

More fun than a suitcase full of Biden votes…

Hairspray, baby!

Pete, I’m getting great results with a very thin layer of Aqua Net Unscented Extra Super Hold. More reliable than the glue sticks with much better bottom surface quality. Best applied with a microfiber cloth that’s been wetted with a replacement cap like this one.

PLA (what I’m mostly sticking to right now) adheres very firmly to a heated bed, but pretty much pops off as soon as it cools.

(note on ABS, since I belatedly noticed that’s what you’re printing with)

Unrelated, plastic calipers. 😁

Dear Amazon,

I honestly would prefer this to the current state of politics:

I’m not sure about your choice of takoyaki as a breakfast food, though:

Unrelated, “why we can’t have nice things”

“Dear user,”

“We are excited to hear about your new project for the first time, and are eager to work with you to meet your team’s needs. However, we will not be able to give a new external partner admin-level access to our internal bug-tracking database by end of day tomorrow, as requested.”

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