Matthew Ernisse

January 23, 2023 @16:15

With all the hubub lately around ActivityPub and Mastodon I spent some time reconsidering keeping the blog and Thoughts standlone. As originally designed this website is meant to be my publishing platform. I wanted to force conversations to e-mail to select for more thoughtful, person-to-person interactions as opposed to the usual cesspool of spam and unhelpful characters that comment sections usually attract.

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January 01, 2023 @15:30

In keeping with the last two years here are the 10 most visited posts of the last year and a comparison to their performance in 2021.

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December 28, 2022 @11:20

This is a bit of a departure from what I normally post on here. I've had some of these thoughts rattling around in my head for a while and to end the year I felt like finally sitting down and getting them out. While there is some technical background contained herein it's more of a story as to how and perhaps why this site — the very infrastructure holding up the vast majority of my online presence exists. I suspect that it will attract a different sort of reader than my usual posts as it lacks the utilitarian qualities of me documenting a bitter fight with some technology. Nevertheless I hope that if you take the time to read the rest of this that you find some useful information.

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December 21, 2022 @09:15

Congratulations on making it to the winter solstice! Molly, Aziraphale and I are sending everyone wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Festive Saturnalia, and Joyous Yule as the Earth hurdles on towards perihelion on this, the 1026th day of March, 2020.

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November 25, 2022 @14:20

It looks and feels cheap. If you end up not reading beyond this first paragraph then you have your answer. If you would like to know why, read on. Just prior to the holiday in the US I picked up an Apple Watch Series 7. I have resisted the foray into the wearable device market for a long time but was finally tempted by a decade long frustration with alerts on smartphones. Gone are the days of any meaningful strength to the vibration systems in mobile devices and since I am not a psychopath I nearly always have my phone on silent. Similarly I mourn the loss of the blinking LED, eschewed from inception by i-things for reasons defying understanding. Likely one of many dark patterns designed to force you to pay attention to the stupid thing more often than is actually necessary. As such the round-trip time of any sort of notification on my phone (of which only the Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Phone applications are allowed to produce) is often times measurable in hours. The hope being that perhaps the watch can provide a more reliable indicator of an event needing my attention.

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November 02, 2022 @14:00

It has been almost 3 years now since I built Thoughts — the microblogging platform and I'd say it's been a success. Over the years I've tweaked it a bit for cost and usability, integrating some quality of life features into the posting interface (I swapped out my own editor for Trix), changing the attachment processing pipeline to support videos, and making a rudimentary swing at rich link previews (that does need a revisit). As it stands today it costs me between 9¢ and 11¢ per month to run. One of the things that landed in the ~/TODO after using it for a while was to add the ability for me to reply to an existing Thought. Sometimes I throw something out there and later on want to follow up to it but there wasn't a great way to do that. Thoughts are generally speaking immutable and independent — and while this is an intended feature it lead to situations like this.

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October 07, 2022 @12:50

Grafana Dashboard I've been trying to size and design a portable solar power system for camping and so I needed to figure out a way to get the data from the charge controller. Renogy sells some silly Bluetooth module that can connect your charge controller to their app but that doesn't appear to provide any sort of long-term logging and analysis functions so it's not what I want. It turns out that as is the case with so many things the answer was a quick Python script. The frequent reader of this blog will likely know what is coming next as the combination of InfluxDB and Grafana is a popular one here. I got into it to replace MRTG then expanded it to monitor my ADSB feeder, a Mikrotik Wireless Wire, an Arris DOCSIS cable modem, my Internet speeds, my bespoke sensor network, the performance of all my systems including my Windows gaming PC, and of course the performance of this website.

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Original: September 18, 2022 @12:19
Edited: September 24, 2022 @16:55

Shortly after leaving Linux for Mac OS X on the desktop many years ago I left Mozilla for Safari. While I still mostly use Safari I do find myself having to keep Firefox around for the occasional site that doesn't seem to work right in Safari, and naturally I use Firefox on my Windows PC. Over the last few years though, the organization behind Firefox continues to make more and more questionable decisions, bloating the browser and making it uglier. I started trying to combat this sad trend by switching to the Extended Support Release channel which worked for a while but with the sunset of version 78 some of the more awful features have finally been forced upon me. This sent me looking for other ways to try to manage the situation that don't require me to screw around in the settings every time the browser updates to make sure it isn't leaking private data to some ad partner, or Google, or Cloudflare. Thankfully there is a mechanism designed for enterprise IT departments that lets you disable some of the more annoying features using a simple JSON file. After a quick read through the documentation I was able to create a policies.json file that I was happy with that works on both my Windows 10 and macOS Catalina systems.

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September 08, 2022 @10:15

This is a common scene I think it has probably been 10 or 15 years since I sat down and really went head-down on a game for a solid weekend and since I had some extra time around the Labor Day weekend I decided to invest it in a mental health reset by plowing through the Yakuza series. While I still have a working PlayStation 2 I decided to give the remakes a try. The series in general is a mashup of beat 'em up, action-adventure, and rpg games with open-world and strategy elements. The side stories are pretty varied and add a tremendous amount to the story and world building. I started with Yakuza Kiwami and it is alarmingly beautiful given it was also released as a PlayStation 3 game.

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August 30, 2022 @23:07

My Wyse WY-60 Terminal in GLORIOUS green A long time ago terminals were physical things that only displayed ASCII text and they typically defaulted to 80 columns. This lead a tremendous amount of software and convention forming around line lengths of between 70 and 80 characters. These days the world has moved on and RFC 3676 came around to try to find a way to bridge the gap between those of us who prefer 80 columns and monospaced fonts and those who have never seen, or just don't care about that world.

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August 05, 2022 @19:05

I hate this keyboard with the passion of a thousand suns There was much rejoicing this week as it was time for a new work laptop and that means I was finally able to get rid of one of the worst laptops Apple ever made, the regrettable MacBook Pro 13" with the Magic Keyboard and Touch Bar. I am quite picky about keyboards in general as it is the primary method that I interact with computers. While many people may prefer touch interfaces or gestures I find the keyboard to still be the most efficient and expedient input device we have. I was spoiled, growing up with IBM PC keyboards and then eventually moving to IBM Thinkpads. They really set the bar for keyboards in my life and everything ends up being compared to them. All that is to say that the Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar is the worst keyboard I've ever used. The last 2 years I've been mostly working from home using an Apple USB keyboard and have spared myself the most of the frustration and hatred of the vile thing.

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July 31, 2022 @14:40

Most video games these days have methods to save screenshots. Thanks to a complete lack of standards they end up all over the place. Adding in storefronts like Steam and GOG add to the mess by providing their own locations (some more hidden than others) you have to go searching for screenshots in. This is irritating if you want to go find your screenshots later. In what has become my tradition I wrote a Python script to fix this particular problem.

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July 11, 2022 @21:45

Where we started

Tiny Tiny RSS Interface My first RSS feed reader was a custom built Perl / PHP monstrosity back in the early 2000s. I later switched to Google Reader and then upon its inevitable sunset to Vienna. As I found myself reading feeds on multiple devices more I found myself wanting a centralized system with a single repository that I could connect clients to and have feed state synchronized. The server application I settled on at the time was Tiny Tiny RSS. I was able to get a plugin working that provided a compatible API to Reeder, which I used on my iPad and the web interface sufficed on my various desktop and laptop machines.

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Original: July 04, 2022 @20:45
Edited: September 06, 2022 @17:50

I have had several complaints about Mailman 3 being the result of an unfortunate set of decisions that lead to the replacement of Mailman 2.

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June 01, 2022 @11:20

Welcome to the 'verse

Star Citizen has been called a lot of things over the years since its explosion into the scene as an unprecedentedly successful crowd funding campaign that has as of writing raised over $470,000,000 from over 3,800,000 'Star Citizens'. In the ensuing 10 years the game has progressed in the open from little more than a hangar where you could walk around your ships to what today is, arguably a very playable space simulator with several gameplay loops including trading, mining, PvE and PvP combat, search and rescue, salvage, exploration, and of course, piracy.

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