Violating the no photos rule because: rocketship dollhouse!

Posted Sun Aug 2 02:51:25 2015 Tags:

So here’s how my day went….

I started off trying to convert a legacy manual page to asciidoc. Found that pandoc (which could be the target of a whole separate rant, because it totally sucks at translating anything with tables in it) won’t do that.


But it will convert DocBook to asciidoc. OK, so I can use my doclifter tool to convert the manual page to DocBook, then DocBook to asciidoc via pandoc I try this, and doclifter promptly loses its cookies.


Huh? Oh, I see an [nt]roff request in there I’ve never seen before. Must fix doclifter to handle that. Hack hack hack – done. Push the fix, think “I ought to ship a doclifter release”


I look at the doclifter repo. I see that the commit graph has an ugly merge bubble in it from where I forgot a –rebase switch when I was pulling last. It’s the pointless kind of bubble where someone else’s patch commutes with mine so the history might as well be linear and easier to read.

You know, before I ship it…I was planning to move that repo from the downstairs machine to GitLab anyway, I might as well fix that bubble in the process….


Now how do I do that? Hm, yeah, this patch-replay sequence will do it. I ought to can that procedure into a script because I’m doubtless going to have to do it again. (I hates pointless merge bubbles, I hates them forever…) Script done. Hm. I should publish this.


OK, throw together a man page and README and Makefile. Oh, right, I need a project logo for the web page. What should it be? Into my mind, unbidden, enters the image of the scrubbing bubble animated characters from an advertising campaign of my childhood. Win!


I google for images, find one, and GIMP out a suitable piece within individual scrubbing bubble in it. Snrk, yeah, that’s funny. Scale it to 64×64 and go.


Funny logo achieved.


OK, version 1.0 of git-debubble gets published.


git-debubble gets applied to the doclifter repo,


…which I then publish to GitLab.


Now I can convert the manual page to DocBook XML…


…which can then be converted to asciidoc.

I have a lot of days like this.

I think there ought to be a term for a sequence of dependency fulfillments that is a lot like yak shaving, except that something useful or entertaining independently of the original task gets emitted at each stage.

Posted Sat Aug 1 20:12:47 2015 Tags:

If you hate pointless merge bubbles as much as I do, you’ll kick yourself because you didn’t think of this.

But don’t feel bad. I should have, a lot sooner, myself.

Voila! git-debubble.

Posted Sat Aug 1 17:36:36 2015 Tags:

A thousand cab drivers blocked a road in Rio de Janeiro to protest Guber.

I call it "Guber" because it pays drivers peanuts, but the worst thing about Guber is that it tracks passengers. Of course, each passenger has agreed to be tracked — but if we get total surveillance because each person is convinced to agree to it, that does not reduce its danger to democracy.

We need to get rid of systems that amount to massive surveillance, regardless of whether each victim agrees to be tracked.

There are many reasons to refuse to buy from Guber.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

Some US universities impose gags on rape victims and others.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

Arizona subjected 87,000 welfare recipients to drug tests. Some 23 turned out positive and were cut off from welfare benefits.

It is fortunate that this injustice struck so few people, but that is no excuse for doing it at all. The state is supposed to help people that need help, not seek irrelevant excuses to abandon them.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

US citizens: call on True Value and Ace Hardware to stop selling neonicotinoids.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:
Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Own Laws.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

Beppe Grillo calls for nationalizing the Italian banks to end the 'anti-democratic straitjacket' of euro zone.

It may be necessary to exit the euro zone as well.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

UK intelligence agencies have illegally snooped on MPs.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

The Committee for Public Safety (aka Department of Homeland Security) snoops on Black Lives Matter protests.

If they are worried about potential violence, they should monitor the thugs instead.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:

In the UK, people can be imprisoned for the books they have — for instance, the Anarchists Cookbook.

Posted Sat Aug 1 00:00:00 2015 Tags:
To Weed Out Protesters at Last Night's Event, The Satanic Temple Had Attendees Transfer Their Souls to Satan

Attendees for the event had to go through the following process:

  1. Show up at the location stated on the e-ticket.
  2. Go through a security checkpoint there.
  3. Sign a contract transferring their souls to Satan.
  4. Get the real location for the event, which was miles away.

I agree that by signing this document under any name, given or adopted, actual or pseudonymous, I am hereby avowing my soul to Satan (aka Abbadon, aka Lucifer, aka Beelzebub, aka The Antichrist). I do so knowing that He (aka The Fallen One, aka The Father of Lies) or any of His representatives may choose to collect my eternal soul at any time, with or without notice. I understand that my signature or mark representing any name, real or made up, upon these papers constitutes a lasting and eternal contract, and that there will be no further negotiations on the matter of my eternal soul.

I may need to add this to the stock DNA Lounge booking contract, right after the "Frisco" clause. Also a candidate: "Break a deal, face The Wheel".

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Mon Jul 27 23:42:31 2015 Tags:
The latest feature release Git v2.5.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 583 non-merge commits since v2.4.0, contributed by 70 people, 21 of which are new faces.

One interesting change is to git help. We now list commands, grouped by the situation in which you would want to use them. This came from discussion on usability, inspired by one of the talks at GitMerge conference we had in spring.

Among notable new features, some of my favourites are:
  • A new short-hand branch@{push} denotes the remote-tracking branch that tracks the branch at the remote the branch would be pushed to.
  • git send-email learned the alias file format used by the sendmail program.
  • Traditionally, external low-level 3-way merge drivers are expected to produce their results based solely on the contents of the three variants given in temporary files named by %O, %A and %B placeholders on their command line. They are now additionally told about the final path (given by %P).
  • A heuristic we use to catch mistyped paths on the command line git cmd revs pathspec is to make sure that all the non-rev parameters in the later part of the command line are names of the files in the working tree, but that means git grep string -- \*.c must always be disambiguated with --, because nobody sane will create a file whose name literally is asterisk-dot-see.  We loosen the heuristic to declare that with a wildcard string the user likely meant to give us a pathspec. So you can now simply say git grep string \*.c without --.
  • Filter scripts were run with SIGPIPE disabled on the Git side, expecting that they may not read what Git feeds them to filter. We however treated a filter that does not read its input fully before exiting as an error.  We no longer do and ignore EPIPE when writing to feed the filter scripts.

    This changes semantics, but arguably in a good way.  If a filter can produce its output without fully consuming its input using whatever magic, we now let it do so, instead of diagnosing it as a programming error.
  • Whitespace breakages in deleted and context lines can also be painted in the output of git diff and friends with the new --ws-error-highlight option.
  • git merge FETCH_HEAD learned that the previous "git fetch" could be to create an Octopus merge, i.e. recording multiple branches that are not marked as "not-for-merge"; this allows us to lose an old style invocation git merge msg HEAD commits... in the implementation of git pull script; the old style syntax can now be deprecated (but not removed yet).
There are a few "experimental" new features, too. They are still incomplete and/or buggy around the edges and likely to change in the future, but nevertheless interesting.
  • git cat-file --batch learned the --follow-symlinks option that follows an in-tree symbolic link when asked about an object via extended SHA-1 syntax.  For example, HEAD:RelNotes may be a symbolic link that points at Documentation/RelNotes/2.5.0.txt.  With the new option, the command behaves as if HEAD:Documentation/RelNotes/2.5.0.txt was given as input instead.

    This is incomplete in at least a few ways.
    (1) A symbolic link in the index, e.g. :RelNotes, should also be treated the same way, but isn't. (2) Non-batch mode, e.g. git cat-file --follow-symlinks blob HEAD:RelNotes, may also want to behave the same way, but it doesn't.
  • A replacement mechanism for contrib/workdir/git-new-workdir that does not rely on symbolic links and make sharing of objects and refs safer by making the borrowee and borrowers aware of each other has been introduced and accessible via git worktree add. This is accumulating more and more known bugs but may prove useful once they are fixed.

Posted Mon Jul 27 21:18:00 2015 Tags:
In, every time I change the rating of a song, it hypnowheels for 7+ seconds. And every time a new track starts, it hypnowheels for up to 30 seconds.

Dear iTunes team: you are bad at your job and you should feel bad.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Mon Jul 27 19:45:36 2015 Tags:
How the Soviets bugged typewriters in the US Embassy from 1976 through 1984.

This is an amazing story, and I also love that one of the players in this drama is named "Bob Surprise".

The typewriter bugs marked a new level of sophistication because they were electromechanical. For the first time, the Soviets gathered information from a piece of equipment that held written plain text information. Prior to the discovery of these bugs, the U.S. believed that the Russians had only used room audio bugs with micro- phones or listening devices to eavesdrop on American embassy activities. [...]

A total of sixteen bugs were found in twelve IBM Selectric II typewriters and four IBM Selectric III typewriters. Common features were found in all sixteen typewriters: six ferromagnetic magnetizable balls were replaced with six nonferromagnetic nonmagnetizable balls with a very strong magnet in the tip; all the typewriters contained a modified comb support bar which housed the bug; all used burst transmissions at the 30, 60, or 90 MHz range via radio frequency. [...]

Each implant had a magnetometer that converted the mechanical energy of key strokes into local magnetic disturbances. The electronics package in the implant responded to these disturbances, categorized the underlying data, and transmitted the results to a nearby listening post. Data were transmitted via radio frequency. The implant was enabled by remote control. Another advantage of these bugs was easy installation. Engineers estimated that a skilled technician could install an implant in a typewriter in a half hour. The integrated circuits were very sophisticated for that time period. The circuits contained one bit core memory, an advancement that NSA engineers had never seen. [...]

In reality, the movement of the balls determined which character had been typed because each character had a unique binary movement corresponding to the balls. The magnetic energy picked up by the sensors in the bar was converted into a digital electrical signal. The signals were compressed into a four-bit frequency select word. The bug was able to store up to eight four-bit characters. When the buffer was full, a transmitter in the bar sent the information out to Soviet sensors.

There was some ambiguity in determining which characters had been typed. NSA analysts using the laws of probability were able to figure out how the Soviets probably recovered text. Other factors which made it difficult to recover text included the following: The implant could not detect characters that were typed without the ball moving. If the typist pressed space, tab shift, or backspace, these characters were invisible to the implant. Since the ball did not move or tilt when the typist pressed hyphen because it was located at the ball's home position, the bug could not read this character either.

If you enjoy this kind of thing, you should watch The Americans. It's a really fun show. There were times when I was watching Agent Carter and I forgot which show I was watching because they're basically both about the Hydra Black Widow Program, but one of them has more boning and the other has more kung fu.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Mon Jul 27 18:19:17 2015 Tags:
Posted Sun Jul 26 03:50:19 2015 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.