2018 October Assorted Links

Photo taken in July 2016 at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Las Vegas, Nevada with a Sony Alpha α7II, FE 28mm F/2.

Finally settled into Hugo. Seems that for now it’s ushered in a boon of reading and writing. Transitioning content from ghost was necessarily manual so I could re-read/edit/remove. It’s felt good to clean house a bit. Also adding a travel section so I can remember places that I’d like to go visit.


  • HackerNews is a wonderful resource, and it’s likely obvious if you look at these monthly assorted links that lot’s of my “discoveries” come from Hn. There however is a weird sort of culture on the site, like what you see from any community… there are idiomatic things that crop up often. I stumbled upon a different link aggregation site named lobsters that so far I feel far more comfortable commenting on. From there I found an exceptionally funny mock of the Hn community in n-gate.
  • On 4chan there was an ongoing discussion that has become known as The Haruhi Problem: “what is the shortest string containing all permutations of a set of n elements?”. A formal proof was discussed in this archive that some people are now trying to formally cite as work in academic publication. OEIS has a reference to “Anonymous 4chan Poster” now, with an associated manuscript. This topic is on “supermutation”, which interestingly the SciFi author Greg Egan, and apparently polymath, has written about scientifically as well as used these concepts as a basis for hard SciFi. There is some interesting discussion on supermutation on Hn. In poking around these topics the concept of De Bruijn Sequence came up, which interestingly impacts me as a Ford owner. Due to Ford not requiring delineation of entry you can use a De Bruijn Sequence of only 3125 to guarantee entry.
  • Ongoing from the last point there was a very good talk by Robin Houston about using a hacker mentality to approach mathematical discovery.
  • Came across the concept of Tu quoque (mainly just want to remember it here but don’t want to accusingly apply it).
  • IBM has acquired RedHat which in almost every way I feel like will be bad… but maybe we’ll get a resurgence of really good hardware that uses RISC chips so we can move off x86?
  • In reading a lot about DoH and DoT I stumbled across a quote by John Gilmore (co-founder of EFF) that is quit delightful: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it”.
  • An interesting discussion on Hn triggered by a wsj article that is behind their pay-wall regarding “The Awkward Etiquette of iPad Tipping”. This phenomena is interesting, two days ago I walked into a coffee shop and purchased a pastry that only needed to be plated for me. I actually felt a moment of guilt as I selected 0% gratuity mostly out of a sense of doing it publicly and visibly. The user experience seems sort of like it’s designed towards shaming you into being generous for all transactions, to include low-effort and high-effort. Did I pay an appropriate price for the pastry, or was I being irresponsible in not paying the gratuity? It’s not transparent to me because our culture seems to “enjoy” parceling out the cost of a thing across multiple transactions. As opposed to Europe, it seems acceptable in our society to price goods at a lower rate in hopes of attracting consumers, then when consumers don’t pay gratuity for obtaining those goods that cost burden is shifted to employees.
  • List of longest films… how awesome. Especially this 857 hour beast of a film.
  • Sans Forgetica “is a downloadable font that is scientifically designed to help you remember your study notes”. An interesting idea as there is some dyslexia in my family, we’ve not tested with this yet though. Discussed on Hn.
  • Stumbled onto a video called A glorious Dawn which led me to find the Symphony of Science project, which you can name your price and jam to. There a ton more videos made by this artist, almost everything released is free, go nuts.
  • The city Dutch City of Utrech has an ongoing project called The Letters of Utrecht where “Every Saturday at 13:00, the next letter is hewn into the next cobblestone, intended for as long as there are Saturdays.“. “If the citizens continue to fund the making of stones long enough, the line of poem will itself draw the letters U and T on the map of the city, and future citizens can decide on the future route beyond the year 2350.”
  • The latter reminds me of the Clock of the Long Now which I found out about after reading Anathem. Apparently the Long Now Foundation has donated stone from its clock construction site to The Letters of Utrecht project.
  • This also reminded me of Longplayer,a project by Jem Finer, is a self-extending composition designed to continue for one thousand years. Started playing on January 1st 2000, if all goes as planned it won’t repeat until December 31st 2999.
  • Someone posted in /r/opendirectories about how sagadb.org has a directory listing. Icelanders have a ton of sagas. Before visiting there again recently I spend some time reading Njáls saga and was surprised at how conversational/easy it was (and actually pretty interesting).
  • There is such a thing as an Illegal Number, defined as: “a number that represents information which is illegal to possess, utter, propagate, or otherwise transmit in some legal jurisdiction”. In protest of this, during the AACS encryption/DeCSS case people made protest flags using stenography to embed these illegal numbers.
  • Ribs are improvised gramaphone recordings made from X-ray films. Medical X-rays were acquired, cut into 6-inch discs, with a hole added by burning with cigarette. The quality of production was incredibly low and could only be played five to ten times. This was popular in the soviet union during the 50s-60s. these were also called “Jazz on Bones” or “Music on Ribs”. There is apparently a full length documentary on this called ROENTGENIZDAT - The X-Ray Audio Documentary, there is a TED talk on the topic as well. This site has a ton more information.
  • There was a good article on things that Stanisław Lem predicted about the future that we currently live in.


  • packet, which is where this server is now hosted, launched a metal GPU compute service.
  • Engrafo converts LaTeX documents into beautiful responsive web pages using LaTeXML. It’s actually quite beautiful (the theme they’ve chosen to render into). The stack would be uncomfortable to run, but I feel like cherry-picking their scss.
  • ply showed up on a couple link aggregation sites, I don’t know what I’d personally use it for… but I loved the landing page and documentation (generated by a tool called ronn).
  • There is this concept of The DNS Camel where you visualize the complexity of DNS standards over time. There is an interesting discussion about DoT and DoH that got picked up by some news agencies because Paul Vixie said “Rfc 8484 is a cluster duck for internet security. Sorry to rain on your parade. The inmates have taken over the asylum.”. He makes a good point about how DoH will cripple network operators (as opposed to DoT which can be filtered and thus forced to a local resolver), he isn’t wrong… I’m forcing local resolution on many networks I operate right now because it allows me to have local meaningful resolution for services. There was an interesting discussion on lobsters
  • Since we’re on DNS… Look at this letter from Senator Wyden on ESNI. We just got announcement of ESNI last month, whether or not you are interested in the idea you have to be impressed with a senator for being on point about a current hot technical topic.
  • A good write up thinking through the recent Bloomberg article accusing china of seeding supply chain. The whole thing is a bit of a terrifying mess, it’d be quite interesting if it all tips into favor that Bloomberg had an accurate report… but it would be hell for a lot of ops people.
  • I’ve not been an adopter of flatpak as I favor the idea of being a part of a distribution (and trusting people who are packaging software based on guidelines). There was a discussion on Hn about flatkill.org. My thinking is that the main issue with flatpak isn’t that it’s a bad packaging idea… it’s flathub. It’s like Docker, there is convenience in using it… but only due to the “hub” where people put things. It seems like the various communities out there are struggling between curated content and “everyone has push”. Shit on ArchLinux however you want for their TUs packaging the distributed software, but their separation of TUs and the AUR makes a lot of sense for keeping the distribution floating.
  • Mullvad posted a nice write up of their work with Center for Democracy & Technology on “Signals of Trustworthy VPNs”.
  • A good write up on using drawi.io for threat modeling, author makes his custom libraries available.
  • ODROID announces a tiny x86 dual nic platform. Even though I just shit on x86 earlier in this list it’s still awesome to think of a ~150USD device that could be a home router/storage device for people to tinker with. (also their certificate seems to have expired on October 26th.. someone must not be watching their site over the weekend).
  • A command line tool to display ASCII RFC-like protocol header diagrams, which also allows user created diagrams.
  • I’d never heard of Bro (now named Zeek), there are a ton of good talks on-line about it.
  • Unfortunate name collision but interesting project in kerberos, it’s been a while since I’ve done a zoneminder deployment… so I want to keep aware of what might be a simpler current state. One “killer” feature is to offload motion detection to periphery devices (the cameras themselves), not sure if either project does this well. Kerberos has klos which is a slick way of getting up and running quickly.
  • The Illustrated TLS Connection can be seen here.
  • Not sure if this is actually real… it seems infeasible (power density and reliability)… but the spire health tag sounds pretty dang cool.
  • Someone recently wanted to know “what software is on my laptop” but less the “operating system”… they don’t have a familiarity with Linux. It looks like this is easy to do in pacman: pacman -Qe | grep -v "`pacman -Qqeg base-devel base`"
  • People are dropping in different thermal piping on their thinkpads and re-pasting everything… you have to love the community that buys these machines.
  • Awesome repository that lists out recommender systems
  • Signal announced an idea of sealed-sender which appears to be a way to deliver messages with the originating sender being encrypted inside the message.
  • This site currently (at the time I’m writing this sentance) us using fontawesome however recently I’d stumbled onto forkawesome. Since I’m only using literally two artifacts from the project I think that I can pretty easily move over.
  • pretix is a fully features ticketing software that is open source and can be self hosted. It looks super impressive and fully featured.
  • There is a wonderful course using D3 to teach Graph Theory.
  • forestry provides a beautiful interactive frontend for static sites (like hugo). I’m seriously looking at this for upcoming project to free me from running interactive editing software next to the site content.
  • Bokeh has had a major release and has this impressive server functionality with an extremely detailed set of documentation.
  • Turtl allows you to maintain spaces where you put arbitrary data, you can also collaborate with others. It appears to be a super robust replacement for Keep or Evernote.
  • I’ve farted around with SDI a bit and was trying to understand how to move this type of data over IP after watching this awesome talk by Kieran Kunhya. For SDI I’d found BMD to be a great inexpensive vendor to get started with. There is apparently something called NDI and a company similar to BMD called BirdDog as well as another company called Ross that has a product called “newt” that looks pretty interesting.
  • coredns looks like an awesome project. Wanted to keep a reference to it in my lust for building a pure linux router (not using vyos).
  • In looking at this /r/selfhosted discussion on photo galleries I wanted to remember a couple; notably photoprism and photofloat which is written by Jason Donenfeld who also wrote writeguard, pass, cgit… and a ton of other amazing software I use every day.
  • A project to harden firefox with a comprehensive settings file.



  • It would be very cool to get to Kassel Germany to see the 7000 oaks project.
  • Several time lapse photographs showed up recently on link aggregators for the Gelmer Funciular, it looks absolutely delightful. I’d like to get to Gelmersee to take a ride on it. I’d been able to spend a little time on the funicular at Karlovy Vary which was an inspirational area for the delightful film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  • The Leutascher Geisterklamm is apparently a short walk where you enter in Germany, go into Austria, then come back out in Germany. There is an /r/travel discussion of the area.
  • Photographer _marcelsiebert got an excellent photo of the church reconstruction at Þjóðveldisbærinn in Iceland.
  • After returning from out Iceland trip I was trying to find a good way to share where we’d been with family. Google’s MyMap was causing me some headaches with their layer limitations so I decided to give openstreetmap a shot. Using UMap and Project ORSM I was able to make this map.