Hi. You can call me Pre.



Here’s the stuff I’ve made that I’m most proud of.


Here’s my latest posts to the free fediverse, some rambling, some ranting, mostly just commenting on stuff I’ve read lately. Some of it gets syndicated to Twitter but mostly not. The best of it reaches my monthly digest email.

You are browsing the web as usual and notice that everything is getting slower and slower and you suspect one of your tabs is probably getting hoggy. Taking up all the RAM or CPU.

Do you know which tab? Which one is it likely to be?

I generally close Deribit first. Their system for stopping if you're in-active presumably saves them money but seems to fuck up my CPU load often.

If it's still broke it's probably . Email in particular. Hope the new update makes email work well. I'm thinking of going back to Mutt.

After that, it's , if it's running. But it's not normally running.

So now it's likely just some random thing.

It's never .

Though that does sometimes stop updating, it never seems to take the rest of Firefox with it.

It's never either. Probably coz that has often had javascript die entirely coz of some random embedded code from an article broken by the sanitizers and even it's menus don't work now.

I have a list of likely candidates
It's always $X
Never have a clue.

This month's digest is being emailed to all the cool people on the list.

If you're not cool enough to be on the list you can read it here:

Or indeed you can just join the list.

Featuring: Blue Dot and Driving and the end of Johnson. Links section with John Carmack and Robin Ince and more.

Fingering John Carmack was the original social media really. Those were the days eh? What a hero.


In other news, I have upgraded from Buster to Bullseye, after edting /etc/apt/sources.list with the name change:

> apt update
> apt dist-upgrade

A few instances of deciding to keep local edits, thanks for asking.

Better reboot that as well. Make sure it all comes up okay...

OH NO DEBIAN, you have run apache without the php plug in. I mean stop. Stop. That is very bad.

Seems to be some kinda 7.3 vs 7.4 thing. Might as well get it over with.
> sudo apt remove php7.3
> sudo apt install php7.4

Cautiously restart apache and it's not exposed but it's erroring and nextcloud hides the logs in a weird place.

Apparently I also need:
> apt install php7.4-xml

Humm. Something weird with the database. I suspected this was coming:
> apt remove mysql-client mysql-server
> apt install mariadb-client mariadb-server


That seems to be fine.


Oh. Nope. One more, and I mean also now you mention it:
> apt install php7.4-curl
> apt install php7.4-gd
> apt install php7.4-zip
> apt install php7.4-mbstring
> apt install php7.4-intl

Also you gotta give php more than it deserves, editing /etc/php/7.4/apache2/php.ini to
> memory_limit 1024M

Otherwise seems okay.

One final reboot for snapshot..

And there she floats with a new php engine and bullseye. Continuously running since 1999, give or take the odd day.

I do not expect the jump to 8 to be as seemless.

Was hoping that'd all be done by noon.

In other news, I have upgraded my

Apparently I was a few versions behind. Oh. Maybe quite a few.

Click the updater, and it just does it all and then says okay.

But beware: That's only upgraded one version. You're not done in your quest yet.

So do that an embarrassing number of times but with no issues even though I have a weird install with custom apps.

It's afraid the indexes it wants would take too long to run by itself so wants me to:
> sudo -u www-data php occ db:add-missing-indices
But in fact it takes no time at all.

Yeah yeah, I should upgrade php. I think that will break other things though. Not today.

I think I might have to press that button again next week. I thought there was a new one just around now but this is double 0 7.

I'm well practiced now at least.

Upgraded the server to the latest version. It's gone more purple.

Also, apparently the asset-compile step can fail silently, which then makes the server start but refuse to return any pages.

You can see the errors if you know how to look at the log:
> journalctl -f -u mastodon-web

And if your console has enough lines in it because that's a very long error with the important bit at the top: Can't find an asset in the manifest.

But running the precompile says there's nothing to do:
> RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails assets:precompile
> Everything's up-to-date. Nothing to do

Even if you do a clean first:
> RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake assets:clean

Ponderous. 🤔

Seems you can force it to actually do the work by removing the manifest:
> rm public/packs/manifest.json

And then it's all like:
> Compilation failed.

Oh. Good. Not going to tell us why then?

Apparently you can ask for more output by editing a line in config/webpacker.yml to
> webpack_compile_output: true

Then you get the overload instead.

I think it was maybe running out of memory?

Free up memory by stopping everything:
> sudo systemctl stop mastodon-sidekiq
> sudo systemctl stop mastodon-streaming
> sudo systemctl stop mastodon-web

And compile assets once more:
> RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails assets:precompile

Ahha. If you can read this then that worked.

Restart the services:
> sudo systemctl start mastodon-sidekiq
> sudo systemctl start mastodon-streaming
> sudo systemctl start mastodon-web

And actually reboot to check that it all comes back without more fiddling.

I've thought often lately about how when you are a small school child they ask you what kind of labour you would like to do when you grow up, but they almost never ask you how you are going to allocate your working capital once you have enough savings.

Schools are clearly labourist even if the ruling system is capitalist.


A list of the last few things I’ve enjoyed reading/watching or sometimes bookmarked to read later. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed here or follow the little robot on the fediverse that toots them out as I bookmark them.

NY times long form on neural language models.

You notice that the writer has, seemingly deliberately, omitted the very last word of the first .

The missing word jumps into your consciousness almost unbidden: ‘‘the very last word of the first paragraph.’’ There’s no sense of an internal search query in your mind; the word ‘‘paragraph’’ just pops out. It might seem like second nature, this filling-in-the-blank exercise, but doing it makes you think of the embedded layers of knowledge behind the thought.

The Simple Secret of Runway Digits - YouTube

Another CGP Grey's video filled with asides and tangents and all about the numbering systems for runways.

Overtime | Tor.com

Overtime by Charles Stross - Laundry files short story

Pollokshields Shows How To Achieve Independence - Craig Murray

Craig Murray on the astonishing scenes of Scots people protecting asylum
seekers from the racist deportation by Westminster's state officers.

Everything Going Great

Snowden on Bad Faith and reporting on Assange

Playing With 'Playing With Time' | Quick D - YouTube

Captain Disillusion is here once again to explain how some time-control video was faked.

Honest Government Ad | Carbon Capture and Storage - YouTube

JuiceMedia's new Honest Government Ad on Carbon Capture  in Australia is amusing and depressing.

The new alliance between anti-vaxxers and the far right is a deadly threat

Worrying analysis from Paul Mason about the rise of fascism and it's connection to anti-vax, including mention of a leaflet pushed through his door: 'It falsely claims that the virus is “less lethal than a strong seasonal flu”,
that death records have been “falsified” to exaggerate the impact of the
disease, and that the vaccine is experimental and is “in fact a
gene-modifying injection... causing more adverse reactions and deaths
than all other vaccines together”'

Covid, Climate, And The New Denialism - by Edward Snowden - Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden

After all, the statistics on CNN, on FOX, and in The New York Times—someone Googled them too. That’s what the media has become: someone Googling for you

TRUE Limits Of Humanity – The Final Border We Will Never Cross

Kurzgesagt on the cosmic horizon and the sad story of how it's impossible to ever reach 99% of the universe we can currently see

Led By Donkeys (@ByDonkeys): "🚨 It’s not just the parties. He lies about everything." | nitter

Led By Donkeys cut footage from Boris around a cop-show to dramatize his actual wrong-doings that are mostly worse than just having cake on his birthday.

Jack Dorsey Bitcoin: Why Twitter's Founder Is Buying Into Crypto Obsession - Bloomberg

Bloomberg profile on Jack Dorsey, why he's left twitter, the constellation of companies he owns, his interest in Bitcoin and the way it fits with Block."His feelings about authority have even started to color his own views of Twitter. Dorsey recently wrote
that having companies control online content and user identity was a
mistake. “I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it,” he tweeted.""The idea was that, just as each business line within Disney contributed
to the organization’s other divisions, so would Block’s products and
services reinforce one another""Bitcoin is the one true cryptocurrency needed and that web3 is an attempt
by corporate investors and venture capitalists to take control and ruin

A tentacle themed attire for the gig

Use this QR code to tip me with Bitcoin Lightning