Another one of the thugs that killed Freddie Gray has been acquitted of charges -- by the judge.

There is no indication that the thugs expected their actions to kill Grey, but there is no doubt that they knowingly did something that was against the rules and that had a good chance of injuring him.

This should be reckless endangerment, right? But the court said it was not. If that isn't a crime now, then we need a new law to make it one. We must make sure thugs cannot enjoy impunity for practices that put someone's life in danger.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

Bahrain is prosecuting a journalist for covering Bahrain for France24.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

Five Conspirators in the Eradication of the Middle Class.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

Google shut down an artist's blog, which had been going for 14 years, denying the artist access to his own work.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

Indian men out on bail awaiting trial for gang rape got together and raped the same woman again.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

The EU has once again allowed European citizens' data to be stored in the US, based on a vague promise that the US will not disregard EU privacy law, or at least not very often.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

The Turkish people rejected the military coup, but the result is to give ErdoÄŸan more power than before.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

UK Becomes Only G7 Country to Increase Fossil Fuel Subsidies.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

The UN has rebuked Germany and the UK for fossil fuel subsidies that endanger civilization.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:

Computerized cars with nonfree software are malicious snooping devices.

Posted Thu Jul 28 00:00:00 2016 Tags:
In lieu of sleeping, I watch television. I have opinions. In no particular order, here's some stuff I've watched recently:

  • Preacher: This is the best thing on TV right now, and is an amazingly faithful adaptation of the comics. I haven't read them in years, but I loved the shit out of them back in the day, and so far this is doing justice to all of the characters. Cassidy, especially, is spot on. The TV version of Tulip is much more interesting, too: in the show she's a person, but in the comic she was The Girlfriend. The first season seems to be building to Jesse giving The Sermon in the finale, and just about every episode ends with an "Oh shit, here it comes" feeling. I am loving this so much.

  • Mr. Robot: Season one was absolutely incredible in every particular. It's impossible to talk about my favorite parts without massive spoilers, but there's a bit where they do a cliché thing and you're thinking "Oh, you're not going to do the cliché thing are you?" and then there's an instrumental music cue that is the most perfect music cue of all time because in just a few seconds it says, "Not only are we doing the cliché thing but we know it and we know you know it and we are going all in on the cliché thing."

    Also: it is best to view Mr. Robot as a sequel to Pump Up the Volume in much the same way that Grosse Point Blank is a sequel to Say Anything (Lloyd Dobbler found that kickboxing didn't work out and joined the army) and that Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 is the prequel to Jessica Jones (back when Jessica and Patsy lived together before meeting Killgrave -- Jessica was way more fun and less uptight back then).

    Anyway, season two of Mr. Robot is not really impressing me yet. I hope they get their shit together.

  • The Magicians: It took me a few episodes to warm to this, because I have no time for Harry Potter (a series about how hard it is being the popular jock who's good at everything) and this series sounds like it's going to be "Hogwarts, The Graduate School Years", but it's not really that, and it gets pretty dark pretty fast, e.g., the "C. S. Lewis / Lewis Carroll was a pedophile" subplot. It feels much more "real world" than most shows about magic do, and the characters actually have recognizable personalities. This show is excellent.

  • The Expanse: This might be the best science fiction I've ever seen on TV. It's actually science fiction, not "a western in spaaaace" like so much that passes for it is. The world-building is amazingly complex, the politics seem sensible, it has good characterizations, and probably the best physics I've seen in a scifi TV or movie since 2001. The writers understand gravity and inertia if you can believe that. I know, right?

  • Stranger Things: I would like to thank everyone who has been raving about this show for being so vocal about it, and thereby letting me know that I should utterly disregard your opinion on everything, ever. This is the biggest piece of trash I've seen since... well, since the last piece of saccharine pabulum that Spielberg vomited onto the screen. It's a ham-handed Spielberg / Stephen King pastiche, and it's just as bad as the warmed over, Very Special Episode 80s crap it is imitating, but nostalgia is a hell of a drug, so the fact that it is doing a decent job of imitating barely-remembered crap passes for depth with a lot of people, I guess?

    This is a show that had Amnesia Psychic Girl actually say the line, "Friend? What is friend?"

    Someone actually wrote that down. Someone wrote that down and thought, "Yes! Nailed it!"

    There is a makeover montage. A god damned makeover montage.

    It's basically this:

  • Orphan Black: Still amazing. Watch this show! If you are even remotely considering watching Sense8, stop that, and watch this instead, because anything that was interesting in Sense8 was already covered by Orphan Black by season 3, and in a less stupid way, and using characters you actually give a shit about (most of whom are played by the same person, which I still can hardly believe).

  • Wynonna Earp: This show is pretty dumb, but it's fun-dumb in the way mid-series Supernatural was dumb (the period when they kind of just said "fuck it" to making any sense, but before they ran out of ideas). The first few episodes are kind of hard to take, mostly because the writers didn't seem to be in agreement over whether the little sister's character was supposed to be 16 or 25, but it picks up. There's a lot of shooting demons in the face, and it's the most "open carry" show I've ever seen. I wonder what part of Canada is standing in for Arizona here.

  • Fear the Walking Dead: This show exists solely to remind you that The Walking Dead could be so much worse. You will love this show if you watched The Walking Dead and said to yourself, "You know what this show was missing? All of the incuriosity, pointless secret-keeping and one-note unsympathetic non-characters that I came to expect from Lost." This show is the walking embodiment of, "Why did the character decide to do the thing? Because the plot demanded it." Fuck this show.

  • Dark Matter: I call this "Amnesia Firefly". If you give your characters amnesia, they don't have to have personalities! If you keep giving them amnesia over and over again, you can keep rewriting the same episode! Avoid.

  • Killjoys: It's another Firefly ripoff, and it's not a whole lot better, but at least two of the characters have something approaching motivation. There seems to be some complex world-building in the background, but it's a slow reveal.

  • Powers: The first half of season one was pretty lousy, but it picked up (naked Eddie Izzard eating people! how can you not love that!), and season two is getting good. If you watched the first season of Heroes and wanted to throw things at the TV the whole time, this might be the show that you wished that was.

  • Penny Dreadful: Or, "The League of Extraordinarily Bloody Gentlemen". Season one was perfection. Season two was pretty good. Season three was a betrayal: just avoid it.

  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: I find this show hilarious. Apparently the people who do not find this show hilarious are people who did not find 30 Rock hilarious. So let that be your guide.

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Ok, stay with me here. This is actually a musical. Like, a full-on, people stop talking and break into song and dance numbers three times an episode musical. How did this happen? How is this a thing that exists? How is this so funny? Because it's really funny. It's as if Kimmy Schmidt was produced by Bialystock and Bloom.

  • Black Sails: There is really a lot of excellent pirating in this show. Excellent pirating. Pirating and whoring and quite a lot of historically accurate pubic hair. The seasons tend to bog down and get a little talky in the middle, but they bookend it with some amazing naval battles. And even when it's talky, it's pretty great. Like this:

    Flint: That's not why you did it.

    Silver: Really? Would you like to tell me why I did it, then?

    Flint: Well, I wasn't there, but, I'd hazard the guess that you learned of what had happened, told him how fucking stupid he was, and in that moment, he gave you a look that amounted to something less than contrite. And in that moment, you felt it.

    Silver: Felt what?

    Flint: Darkness. Hate. Showing indifference to the authority that you sacrificed so much to acquire, disdain for refusing to acknowledge that his actions, had you not intervened, would have led to an outcome that he would have held you responsible for reversing. Pride. Questioning what kind of man you are if you don't seek retribution for the offense.

    Silver: So what are you saying? You saying I went too far with him?

    Flint: Maybe you went too far. Maybe you didn't go far enough. Maybe you did it just right. The point is that while you were doing it, you heard a voice telling you that disciplining him would prevent him from repeating the offense, a voice that sounded like reason, and there was reason to it, as the most compelling lies are comprised almost entirely of the truth. But that's what it does. Cloaks itself in whatever it must to move you to action. And the more you deny its presence, the more powerful it gets, and the more likely it is to consume you entirely without you ever even knowing it was there. Now, if you and I are to lead these men together, you must learn to know its presence well so that you may use it ... Rather than it use you.

    Also, it's a prequel to Treasure Island. You don't need to know anything about Treasure Island to follow it, but if you want to, I recommend the 1934 version.

  • Outlander: Our protagonist's problem is that she's just too smart and too good at everything, and too many people keep falling in love with her, so she keeps needing to be rescued by a brooding shirtless kilt. This is the most "Mary Sue" thing I have ever seen in my life. It's awful.

  • Lucifer: Speaking of Mary Sues, this show is basically identical to Castle: that is to say, "I don't give a shit about your stupid mismatched-buddy-cop police procedural -- oh, no chief, please don't partner me with the witty and charming outsider" -- but I watched it for a few episodes because that guy is kind of charming. But yeah, I gave up on it.

  • Ash vs Evil Dead: So, remember that scene, where Bruce Campbell is fighting his possessed hand and it keeps smashing plates over his head? If you want to see a series that is basically that scene over and over again, this is the series for you. (Note: I do, and so this is the series for me.)

  • Another Period: This is the actually-watchable version of Downton Abbey.

  • Outcast: How can you make exorcisms so boring?

  • 12 Monkeys: This is pretty lousy, and it's clear at this point that the writers have no plan at all, and are going to just keep palimpsesting over the plot as needed to keep it going. Bleh. But you have to admire what's-his-name's commitment to maintaining 5 days of stubble. It's a Miami Vice level of tonsorial devotion.

  • Blindspot, Gotham, The Strain: These shows are bullshit.

Posted Tue Jul 26 20:15:48 2016 Tags:
I'm turning off commenting for my blogs. While I've enjoyed some feedback, the time wasted to moderate spam posts just isn't worth it. Thank you, spammers! :-(
Posted Sat Jul 23 21:11:00 2016 Tags:




He's got a new book coming out. The previous one, Tales from the Loop, was awesome.

Previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Jul 23 03:53:00 2016 Tags:
Do they even have a different auto-response than that?

    Your report
    How do I get Facebook to email me notifications any time someone comments on an event I have created with Business Manager? Settings / Notifications / Mail is set to "All except Messages" but I get nothing. Contrary to the FAQ, there is no "Notification Settings" menu item on the event. I am receiving other email notifications, so my email is set up correctly, etc.

    I asked this question yesterday and your response was "thank you for your feedback." Is that your cute way of saying "there is no way to do what you want?" If that's what you mean, you should try saying that.

    Our reply
    Your feedback will be used to improve Facebook. Thanks for taking the time to make a report.

    Your report

    The tab for my app on my page at link is blank. I can see that Facebook is correctly loading the iframe from my web server at link but nothing shows up. How do I diagnose what the problem is? I don't see any error messages anywhere. Needless to say, it used to work fine and I haven't changed anything recently.
    Our reply
    Your feedback will be used to improve Facebook. Thanks for taking the time to make a report.

They don't even email you when they've shitcanned your support request! I'm experiencing nostalgia for the tender embrace of the GNOME bug system.

Previously.

Posted Fri Jul 22 23:12:58 2016 Tags:

As of tonight, I have a new challenge in my life.

Sifu Dale announced tonight that next year he plans to send a team to next year’s Quoshu, a national-level martial-arts competition held every year in northern Maryland in late summer.

I told Sifu I want to go and compete in weapons, at least. He was like, “Well, of course,” as though he’d been expecting it. Which is maybe a little surprising and flattering considering I’ll be pushing 60 then.

It’ll mean serious training for the next year, and maybe a pretty humiliating experience if it turns out I’m too old and slow. But I want to try, because it’s national-level competition against fighters from dozens of different styles, and…frankly, I’m tired of not having any clear idea how good I am. Winning would be nice, but what I really want is to measure myself against a bigger talent pool.

The thing is, on the limited evidence I have, the possibilities range from “Eric is a clumsy goof who powers through weak opposition just by being a little stronger and more aggressive” to “Eric is a genuinely powerful and clever fighter who even national-level competitors had better take seriously.” It’s really hard for me to tell.

I’ve tended to look pretty good at schools where the style matched my physical capabilities. I was a duffer at aikido and undistinguished at MMA, but me in a style that’s about hitting things or swinging weapons and I shine. You really, really don’t want to be in the way when I strike at full power; I never do it against my training partners because I don’t want to break them. On one occasion at my MMA school when I was practicing short punches against a padded structural beam I vibrated the building. Not kidding!

I also take hits very well when they happen. My sifu often tells new students “Hit him as hard as you can. You can’t hurt him,” which claim is funny because it’s largely true. By the time they can put enough mv**2 on target to make me flinch they’re well beyond being newbies. Generally if he doesn’t say this the student has trained in another striking style before.

On the other hand, I’m only tested against a relatively small population, and it’s not clear that my upper-body strength is the kind of advantage against genuinely skilled opponents that it is when you’re, say, trying to vibrate a building. I’m slow on my feet and my balance is iffy because cerebral palsy. And there are lots of people who can do technique better than me.

If I’m really good, then it’s because (a) I’m strong and tough, (b) I’m aggressive, and (c) I have a kind of low cunning about fighting and do things my opponents don’t expect and aren’t prepared for. I know where my tiger is. An awful lot of people who are better martial technicians than me don’t, and that is a fact.

But I don’t know what percentile this puts me in if you could match me against a hundred people who have also been training for years and are among the best at their schools. In a year and change maybe I will. It’s worth the effort to find out.

Posted Fri Jul 22 11:34:59 2016 Tags:
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Posted Fri Jul 22 08:10:10 2016 Tags:

Don't panic. Of course it isn't. Stop typing that angry letter to the editor and read on. I just picked that title because it's clickbait and these days that's all that matters, right?

With the release of libinput 1.4 and the newest feature to add tablet pad mode switching, we've now finished the TODO list we had when libinput was first conceived. Let's see what we have in libinput right now:

  • keyboard support (actually quite boring)
  • touchscreen support (actually quite boring too)
  • support for mice, including middle button emulation where needed
  • support for trackballs including the ability to use them rotated and to use button-based scrolling
  • touchpad support, most notably:
    • proper multitouch support on touchpads [1]
    • two-finger scrolling and edge scrolling
    • tapping, tap-to-drag and drag-lock (all configurable)
    • pinch and swipe gestures
    • built-in palm and thumb detection
    • smart disable-while-typing without the need for an external process like syndaemon
    • more predictable touchpad behaviours because everything is based on physical units [2]
    • a proper API to allow for kinetic scrolling on a per-widget basis
  • tracksticks work with middle button scrolling and communicate with the touchpad where needed
  • tablet support, most notably:
    • each tool is a separate entity with its own capabilities
    • the pad itself is a separate entity with its own capabilities and events
    • mode switching is exported by the libinput API and should work consistently across callers
  • a way to identify if multiple kernel devices belong to the same physical device (libinput device groups)
  • a reliable test suite
  • Documentation!
The side-effect of libinput is that we are also trying to fix the rest of the stack where appropriate. Mostly this meant pushing stuff into systemd/udev so far, with the odd kernel fix as well. Specifically the udev bits means we
  • know the DPI density of a mouse
  • know whether a touchpad is internal or external
  • fix up incorrect axis ranges on absolute devices (mostly touchpads)
  • try to set the trackstick sensitivity to something sensible
  • know when the wheel click is less/more than the default 15 degrees
And of course, the whole point of libinput is that it can be used from any Wayland compositor and take away most of the effort of implementing an input stack. GNOME, KDE and enlightenment already uses libinput, and so does Canonical's Mir. And some distribution use libinput as the default driver in X through xf86-input-libinput (Fedora 22 was the first to do this). So overall libinput is already quite a success.

The hard work doesn't stop of course, there are still plenty of areas where we need to be better. And of course, new features come as HW manufacturers bring out new hardware. I already have touch arbitration on my todo list. But it's nice to wave at this big milestone as we pass it into the way to the glorious future of perfect, bug-free input. At this point, I'd like to extend my thanks to all our contributors: Andreas Pokorny, Benjamin Tissoires, Caibin Chen, Carlos Garnacho, Carlos Olmedo Escobar, David Herrmann, Derek Foreman, Eric Engestrom, Friedrich Schöller, Gilles Dartiguelongue, Hans de Goede, Jackie Huang, Jan Alexander Steffens (heftig), Jan Engelhardt, Jason Gerecke, Jasper St. Pierre, Jon A. Cruz, Jonas Ådahl, JoonCheol Park, Kristian Høgsberg, Krzysztof A. Sobiecki, Marek Chalupa, Olivier Blin, Olivier Fourdan, Peter Frühberger, Peter Hutterer, Peter Korsgaard, Stephen Chandler Paul, Thomas Hindoe Paaboel Andersen, Tomi Leppänen, U. Artie Eoff, Velimir Lisec.

Finally: libinput was started by Jonas Ådahl in late 2013, so it's already over 2.5 years old. And the git log shows we're approaching 2000 commits and a simple LOCC says over 60000 lines of code. I would also like to point out that the vast majority of commits were done by Red Hat employees, I've been working on it pretty much full-time since 2014 [3]. libinput is another example of Red Hat putting money, time and effort into the less press-worthy plumbing layers that keep our systems running. [4]

[1] Ironically, that's also the biggest cause of bugs because touchpads are terrible. synaptics still only does single-finger with a bit of icing and on bad touchpads that often papers over hardware issues. We now do that in libinput for affected hardware too.
[2] The synaptics driver uses absolute numbers, mostly based on the axis ranges for Synaptics touchpads making them unpredictable or at least different on other touchpads.
[3] Coincidentally, if you see someone suggesting that input is easy and you can "just do $foo", their assumptions may not match reality
[4] No, Red Hat did not require me to add this. I can pretty much write what I want in this blog and these opinions are my own anyway and don't necessary reflect Red Hat yadi yadi ya. The fact that I felt I had to add this footnote to counteract whatever wild conspiracy comes up next is depressing enough.

Posted Wed Jul 20 00:45:00 2016 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.