Fun with Gentoo

Nightly auto-upgrades are great, except when they aren’t. In this case, going from app-misc/screen-4.0.3-r7 to app-misc/screen-4.2.1-r2 changed the default SCREENDIR from /run/screen to /tmp/screen. Normally wouldn’t care, but I had running screen sessions and couldn’t get in; oops!

Only realized about the SCREENDIR variable after I’d already downgraded back to 4.0.3-r7.

And on a lighter note…

Submitted without comment:
LA porn production plummets in wake of mandatory condom law

Number of permits issued for adult films plunges as industry says producers have moved to Las Vegas and eastern Europe

Pornography production in Los Angeles appears to have plunged in the wake of a law which compels performers to use condoms.

The number of permits issued for adult films fell 90% last year to just 40 permits compared with 2012, when the law was introduced, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

“We’ve seen a dramatic drop in permits,” Paul Audley, president of FilmLA, told the paper. “It is a cause for concern that people who are manning the cameras, lights and other things on those sets are not working anymore.”

Another gem from lower in the article:

Most porn production takes place without permits – a film can be shot in a few days in a private house – so it was unclear to what extent the 90% fall in permits represented a wider flight.

What I was doing at age 18

I recently realized that a very important aspect of what I have done for the past year in my day job is echoing how I got started in my career. That is, I spent a bunch of time last year and this year justifying a large technical project — in writing for a less-technical audience — and then working with other people to get it organized and deployed. I’ve also recently in my work gone back to that project — documenting the project so that other folks could finish it, and a non-IT PM could manage it — so that I can get back to programming.

Realizing that, it inspired me to see if I still had the documents I’d written for that original project. It turns out, I did — both the original proposal, and a mid-year budget for the actual ordering once we got the project approved.

So, what was this project? Getting my high school computer lab on a LAN, and on the internet — the latter isn’t mentioned in the original proposal, so I guess it was scope creep, but it was awesome. The project lead to my first full-time summer job and my first full-time job when I took my break from Dartmouth (both doing Novell server admin work plus some desktop support) and I’m pretty sure the project itself — still underway — made a difference in my college applications.

A PDF reconstructing the original documents is here: Networking Computer Resources for Hunter College High School: A Modest Proposal Below the break, reminiscences and a text version of the document itself.

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Some stories just ask “share me here”

US student is rescued from giant vagina sculpture in Germany

On Friday afternoon, a young American in Tübingen had to be rescued by 22 firefighters after getting trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina. The Chacán-Pi (Making Love) artwork by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara has been outside Tübingen University’s institute for microbiology and virology since 2001 and had previously mainly attracted juvenile sniggers rather than adventurous explorers.

The comments on the Guardian’s site are, as one might expect, brilliant.

Parts from my old (failed) attempt to build a small computer

_MG_0184

Finally inventoried the parts after years in storage. Lot of chips, though nothing that rare or interesting. Somewhere I have the schematics I designed. Will scan them when I find them. I doubt it really would have worked, and I never got an EPROM programmer working. Very tempted to try to figure out how to reuse some of this building something like N8VEM.

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A good day for cooking.

Made macaroni and cheese for dinner today; have never been able to successfully make a smaller, “limited leftovers” version without it either growing to a larger portion or turning into a disaster, but I got it right today… Great way to use some otherwise over-sharp, slightly bitter Edam. Add pecorino and a sharp vt. cheddar, and … yum. About a Wonder if Nadia will like the leftovers tomorrow.
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A quick bit of FFMPEG magic to improve VHS rips

fmpeg -i Old_VHS_copy.avi -threads 0 -aspect 4:3 -vf "pp=ac/lb/ha/va/dr/al,frei0r=brightness:0.625,frei0r=contrast0r:1.05,frei0r=saturat0r:0.10,hqdn3d=4:4:7,scale=480:-1,unsharp" -codec:a libfaac -b:a 64k -codec:v libx264 -profile:v high444 -preset:v placebo Much_Better.mkv

Found the frei0r contrast/brightness/saturation controls MUCH better than the MP2 ones.

Amount of de-noise (before downsize) and sharpening (after) is to taste, obviously, as is the amount of brightness/contrast improvement. This source was AWFUL!

A second fragment of fiction

“This is my boomstick,” yelled Bob.

The villagers looked at him incredulously and returned to their business, if perhaps a bit more slowly. Bob cycled the bolt on his rifle, which made a satisfying thunk as it fed a cartridge into the chamber.

The villagers continued going about their business with nothing more than a few wary looks, but the apparent tranquility was swiftly broken as Bob raised the rifle to near-vertical and fired a shot into the air. With the loud report, several villagers ran from the square; others stopped what they were doing and dropped behind cover.

However, one tall woman simply turned towards Bob and said, “That wasn’t funny.”

“Well, at least it got someone’s attention.” Bob returned the rifle to a relaxed carry. “I take it you know what this is?”

“Yeah, and ‘Boob Stick’ was only funny when Bruce Campbell said it.”

Bob looked at her for a moment. “Whoever you are, you’ve sure gone native. How long have you’ve been here?”

“Put that away and we’ll talk.”

Bob removed the clip, then opened the bolt and slung the rifle on his back. “This good enough?”

“For now, yes,” she said, nodding. She gestured with her hands for the villagers to get up, then spoke briefly in their language. They slowly began to get up and resume what they were doing.

“Seems like you’re American too,” she said, “and recently arrived from your behavior.”

He nodded. “Mind answering how long you’ve been here?”

“Nine years. It was 1997 back when I appeared here. Is it 2006 over there?”

Bob shook his head. “Twenty-twelve. Does that mean time passes quicker here than there?”

She muttered something under her breath, then replied, “I don’t know. You’re the first person I’ve met who might have been from the same Earth, or at least one close enough to get a recent movie reference. Some of the others have had calendars which were just … different … or come from the 1500s.” She shook her head. “So I don’t know; maybe your Earth was always six years ahead of mine.”

“Fair enough.” Bob sighed, loudly, and extended his hand. “My name’s Bob.”

“For now, you can call me Alice.”

Random musings, justifiable rants, and occasional News of the Weird.

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