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Scripting News

Scripting News, the weblog started in 1994 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution. 🚀

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Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 17:09

There are 20K troops in DC. Who do they report to?


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 16:42

Vaccinating all Americans in short order is the kind of thing we're good at. While I was growing up, we went to space. I remember the Mercury and Gemini missions, and I was 14 years old when we landed on the moon. When there are catastrophes elsewhere in the world, America helps them dig out. We can do this. It will be a great thing to be reminded of our capabilities. We've spent the last four years losing. We need a win. This one is a slam dunk.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 16:45

I needed a script to loop over a calendar-structured folder to generate a list of the most recent updates to a set of projects that are backed up in these folders. I used Frontier. Here's the script source. This is the kind of thing that's much quicker in a scripting system than it would be in Node or some another system language.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 16:04

People are obsessed with what others should do, but here's something you can do. 1. Unfollow and block trolls. 2. Unfollow and block friends who RT trolls. If we all did this, and were open about it, we could beat trolls. Trolls don't change, but you can.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 17:06

You know why you need programmers around? We're always looking for ways things can go wrong.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-16 17:00

America lands on the moon in 1969.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 21:03

Every so often the Daily podcast hits it out of the park, as with today's interview with Republican congressperson Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump, after voting to certify Biden's win.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 15:54

I was looking at the home page on Memeorandum this morning, wondering how journalism would adjust to not having a daily Trump story (or more) to obsess over. How will everyone else deal with that. What will Maddow talk about every night? The fear factor should diminish, one would hope. Former presidents have much less power than sitting presidents. Trump could be the exception. They will have plenty to write about. First the impeachment. The trials of the January 6 insurrectionists. Trump's trials, bankruptcy. Trump going to jail? One can hope. Will this be good for Biden? For us? I don't know. The Democrats need to get a great online organizing machine rolling, for more than raising money and getting out votes. We need to have healthy forms of political action, to balance out the evil kind, which we're seeing so much of. Say what you will about Trump, he did organize an active base. The Democrats could too, but they don't seem to know it. Same as it always was.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 16:05

Come to think about it, Maddow will have plenty to talk about as details of how Trump and his associates hollowed out and looted the US government while they were in office. We'll be finding smoking holes in the ground for decades to come. Things that used to work that no longer exist. So if you need a nightly story of American carnage, you will be well taken care of.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 15:42

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's thread from the Wednesday about the "significant ramifications" of banning Trump from Twitter. In the thread he talks about Twitter funding an open decentralized standard for social networks called Blue Sky. I remember when they announced this in 2019, I think I offered to help then, and I offered again today. Creating an open distributed system at Twitter's scale is an ambitious undertaking.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 14:45

There are, as far as I know, two places to get a Covid vaccine in Ulster County, the county itself in Kingston and the Village Apothecary in Woodstock. Neither are making appointments now, but you can register to be notified when they are. If you know of others, send me a link and I'll try to post it here or in the linkblog.


Roku's UI?

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 18:11

I think Roku is an incredible product. The remote is the best. The UI is great. On screens that integrate it, where Roku is the OS, it's even better. It's how screens should work, imho. I called it the Entertainment Desktop in April 2019.

But there's something I've heard a lot -- Roku's user interface "needs work." Or it's old-looking, dated.

But I don't get it. Compared to what? It seems pretty good to me, and I've spent decades thinking about and working on interfaces for stuff like that.

PS: Remember iTunes?


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 20:30

Last Wednesday was a horrible day for white Americans.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 15:58

White people should wear a MLK button. Here's what it says: "I am not a white supremacist. I believe in an America that loves and respects all its people. No one is allowed to interfere with or limit another person's right to vote. Government of the people, by the people and for the people."


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 15:43

I wouldn't listen to anyone who spouts hate about white men any more than I would one who hates on black men. I'm so fed up with people who spew hate. They're all evil, sick, selfish people. There is no acceptable form of hate.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 15:25

The Nets traded for James Harden, one of the top stars in the NBA. They gave up most of their draft picks, so their future looks pretty grim. And they now have two of the most worst-attitude players in the NBA in Kyrie Irving and Harden. Not sure about Durant. But I wonder how many games Kyrie is going to play this year, when ball-hog Harden is on the court. Maybe he can lead the second team. Somehow the power has to gravitate away from the stars, and back to the teams. In the meantime, it's kind of a blessing for the Knicks that none of the superstars want to play there. That way every victory feels earned. The team has a spirit. Of course they have egos, but none so dominant as the ones who now play for Brooklyn. Now I just wish I could watch the Knicks for less than $65 a month, which is a ripoff that I refuse to pay.


Terrorism and tech

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 16:32

The NYT needs someone who understands tech at a human level, the way Donald McNeil understands viruses. Yesterday's Daily could have been so much better, more informative, and less scary.

The terrorists will hit some new speed bumps now that they've had some success. If their online groups follow the pattern of every group I've ever belonged to, it won't be long before they're attacking each other. Probably has already started.

Just like there were defenses against the virus, which we learned about in March from McNeil, there are defenses against the terrorists, beyond deplatforming.

Maddow needs help too. You know how she always asks if she got it right and the other person says yes. Well, when it comes to tech, the answer is no. Her stories, when they involve tech are usually nonsense.(I say usually because I haven't heard them all.)

For example, the app stores on Google and Apple. That's where Parler was cut off. They didn't provide back-end services, they provided distribution. Like when you buy bread at the supermarket, they didn't make the bread, but they have it all there in one place for you to buy.

With Apple and Google, they make it very hard if not impossible to install something that didn't come through their store. This is for security, and also gives them full control over the platform. So when they removed Parler, that was pretty much the end for them on mobile devices. They still had the open web until Amazon knocked them off there too.

Also the news is butchering the difference between Amazon and the others (Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google). They are providing something completely different. And them kicking Parler off is pretty unprecedented for them. That in itself is big news. Like the failure of a vaccine.

There's another interesting angle that they touched on yesterday in the Daily, that deplatforming has a disadvantage, it means it's harder to spy on the terrorists. Something like this happened 20 years ago with Napster. At that time everyone was getting their music from Napster. The music industry, sued them, and won, buh bye Napster. But something was lost there. The idea of a central place for music, that might have been interesting. It'll never happen again, just like we will never get the Coronavirus contained again, as it was before 2019.

Tech is interesting! But the lack of confidence among journalists not only lets people manipulate them (Hillary's emails) it often distributes information that's just plain wrong and that's too bad. Because a lot of these things aren't mysteries now.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 15:32

The impeachiest.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 20:12

Why banking interfaces suck. Confusion makes them money with overdraft fees, etc. Hadn't thought of that.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 17:53

So many people like to be stimulated by their own rage, they look for triggers. They may say they're tired of it, but if they really were, they could block the trolls.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 16:23

Suppose for the sake of argument that the election was rigged, a conspiracy between state governments, including Republican state governments, and journalism. Do you think their coverup could be so complete we'd never have hard proof of this conspiracy? Hard to imagine intelligent people believing that it could. And BTW, don't think they're not intelligent. There were a lot of very educated and successful people who attacked the Capitol last week. What's going on inside these people? Not asking a question of people who read this blog, just expressing bewilderment. At what point will their deep gullibility lose out to their experience and bullshit detection?


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 16:50

What's wrong with the Repubs. Trump ordered an attack on them. They came pretty close to killing all of them. Maybe they're robots.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 14:25

Yes, the Trumps are being cancelled, and I don't care how you feel.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 14:10

Repubs are objecting to being scanned for weapons going onto the House floor. Should we conclude that they have been bringing weapons onto the floor? Why else would the Capitol police want to put a scanner there? Are they afraid of a hostage situation where the perp is a member of Congress? So many questions. If in the opinion of some reps, they are entitled to bring weapons onto the floor, is there a limit? Can they bring automatic weapons? Grenades? An automatic grenade launcher? How about a tank, could they bring a tank onto the floor of the House. I suppose that could come in handy.


Repubs are dead to me

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 15:09

I am no longer listening to Republicans. What they say is not only twisted, it's designed to make me feel sympathy for them. I am by nature a sympathetic person. They are taking advantage of that. I have decided it's prudent to stop listening.

Therefore, I would like to have an "intelligent" Twitter.

  • Here's what it would do...
    • I could tell it I don't want to see tweets from Republicans.
      • And, as if by magic...
        • Poof!
          • The Republicans are gone!
            • Imagine if we all did it.
              • They really would be gone.


Suppose it's two weeks ago

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-13 15:24

Write a caption for this photo.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 16:38

Poll: Will Trump be president on January 21?


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 20:04

Reality check: Trump attacked the United States.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 20:09

I wish I had that video of the Iraqi parliament, locked in by Saddam, being taken out one by one to be shot. The doors locked. Giving speeches saying how much they love Saddam, arms waving, crying. He had them shot anyway. I think the Congressional Repubs should see it. And Mike Pence. He already knows what it feels like.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 18:00

If the Mission Impossible people were still around, they'd figure out a way to get the MAGAs to turn on Trump.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 14:57

Seeming unlikely things keep happening, yet this doesn't affect people's inability to imagine weird freaky things happening. They snap back to "normal" whatever that is. Normal never actually existed. A more accurate way to describe that feeling is this: "asleep."


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 14:25

Over the years Trump was on Twitter, I had him blocked. I urged people I follow not to RT him. That's the first and only rule of trolls, don't feed them. That's what they need. His fans love that he pisses off the libtards (that's you btw). How much more effective it would have been if instead of waiting for Twitter to ban him, we all did it, by blocking him. Pay no attention. That would have been incredible. But people need to learn. Okay now it's time not to RT the Repubs as they desperately try to reboot their reality distortion field. Let Trump's base take care of them. Don't RT them. Let them fail. When you feed their attempts at controversy you are, perhaps ironically, saving them.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-12 14:23

As things get worse for Trump, and they are getting worse, the odds he’ll blow a nuke go up. Will we look back on this, after the fact, and realize there was something we could’ve done to prevent it. Will history forgive us if it happens and we didn’t do anything.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-11 19:16

Today's song: Get Together.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-11 21:35

Trump doesn't need Twitter, he could just use a blog. If he did, there would be pathways for people to find out he updated, and software that would let his followers read his latest messages, in reverse chronological order. There would be no Twitter to shut him down. Now, I'm not sure where he could go to get the blog hosted. I wonder if Blogger and Wordpress et al have considered what they'd do if he started a blog in either of those places. Thing to know is RSS is a lot easier to deploy than a Twitter-like system, and it could be distributed. We looked at lots of those things in the heyday of Napster to route around the music industry. I hate that I'm helping Trump be the monster he is, but I feel obligated to share this with my followers, who probably want to think about real-world applications of distributed internet technology.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-11 17:16

Here's something positive. Re this profile of the GuyOnPorch and WomanInCar meme that became viral. Let me set the stage. The guy on the porch is an older white man. He's screaming obscenities at MAGAs (off-camera) telling them to get the fuck out of DC. Then the camera swings to a black woman in her car, and she's kind of astonished to see the white man saying what she was thinking. And she said so. I cried watching it. Later in the profile they said something that grabbed me. “Humphries was stunned that it was this 60-year-old White man speaking her truth. Their truth.” I wanted to give them both a big hug. We need to get our shit together. It's not just her truth and his truth, it's the truth of America. We love this country. And that means we love each other. For real.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-11 16:27

I had a post here entitled Morning Depression Notes. I deleted it. I don't need to make your day worse. But I do want to say Monday January 11, 2021 is one of the worst days ever. I somehow made it through 2020 without getting depressed. But 2021, it's a real challenge. Maybe I just want to say one thing. Let's remove all the Republican senators, except Mitt Romney. Send them all home. They had a chance to stop this, the Dems tee'd it up for them, all they had to do was vote to convict. Sure they might have lost their jobs. They're going to lose them anyway. But they might have had a tiny little bit of residual honor, and we all could have stood up for them, when the MAGA mob comes for them. Now, let em go -- out the airlock. Good riddance.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-11 16:31

When we throw the Repubs out the airlock, I nominate Lee Zeldin to lead the parade, for this tweet.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 19:36

As it settles in, what Trump and his family did, what Giuliani did, there is no penalty harsh enough to fit the crime. That they still have their freedom says there’s something missing in the Constitution. That Trump still have has freedom says there’s something missing in the Constitution.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 20:17

They need a new rule in Congress. Don't bother electing anyone who tried to overthrow the US government. We will not let them sit down.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 20:58

I decided to give Fubo a try, because I'd like to watch Knicks games. Well, there's a deal stopper, no CNN. The Knicks are not worth $65 a month, even if they are good this year.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 17:26

2015: "If we could get neutral places on the Internet, with no business models attached to them and no ownership we could create some important new stuff. What? We won't know until we have it."


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 17:06

Via Dan Conover on Facebook: "It's only a coup if it's from the Coup d'état region of France. Otherwise, it's just sparkling White Supremacist insurrection."


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 16:50

I'm getting stir crazy. I'm just starting to notice it, but I think it's been happening for some time. Let's try to remember that everyone else is dealing with the same fucked up situation.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 15:46

Your access to all of the internet depends on the permission of a lot of big companies. Any one of them could break your illusion of independence. So when you get all righteous about how they have the right to shut you down, remember, you aren't them, and they control you.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 05:15

It seems to me what happened with Congress on Wednesday was like that scene in The Godfather, when Michael realizes his father, in the hospital, is not being guarded.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 15:56

A long time ago I wanted to try Google Cloud Platform. I had to give them a credit card. I quickly decided I didn't want the service, so I turned off my test project. Now the card has expired and they're sending me emails saying that I have to register a new credit card. But my bill is $0, has been forever. I don't owe them any money and I don't want the service. I have written them feedback using their support mechanism. Yet I still get the warning emails. The easy thing to do would be to give them a new credit card. This is the power of huge faceless corporations. Even small ones can threaten your credit rating. A foot doctor sends me bills for $40 every few months. Can't talk to the doctor, they won't permit it. Or Experian had a bug that caused my credit to be hurt. It has hurt a lot of other people, I hear. This is the background to the idea of Amazon shutting off an annoying customer because people, including their employees, are hassling them about it. You better stay popular with the people Amazon cares about or you'll be out on the street. I'm not going to give Google a new credit card. Let's see what happens.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-09 20:11

Today's song: The Beat Goes On.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-10 04:39

Late on Saturday evening: Amazon gave Parler 24 hours to get off AWS. Lots to say about this. In the meantime watch my Twitter thread.


Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-09 17:02

We'll look back on this week as the moment everything changed.